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Logistical Support 
— of the Armies — 

Volume II 
September 1944-May 1945 



The European Theater of Operations 


In Two Volumes 
Volume II: September 1944-May 1945 


Roland G. Ruppenthal 


Library of Congress Catalog Number: 53-60080 

First Printed 1959— CMH Pub 7-3-1 

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office 
Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, D.C. 20402 

Kent Roberts Greenfield, General Editor 

Elmer Ellis 
University of Missouri 

Samuel Flagg Bemis 
Yale University 

Gordon A. Craig 
Princeton University 

Oron J. Hale 
University of Virginia 

W. Stull Holt 
University of Washington 

Advisory Committee 

(As of 30 May 1958) 

Brig. Gen. John B. Sullivan 
U.S. Continental Army Command 

Brig. Gen. Edgar C. Doleman 
Army War College 

Brig. Gen. Frederick R. Zierath 
Command and General Staff College 

Brig. Gen. Kenneth F. Zitzman 
Industrial College of the Armed Forces 

Col. Vincent J. Esposito 
United States Military Academy 

T. . Harry Williams 
Louisiana State University 

Office of the Chief of Military History 
Maj. Gen. Richard W. Stephens, Chief 

Chief Historian 

Chief, Histories Division 

Chief, Editorial and Publication Division 

Editor in Chief 

Chief, Cartographic Branch 

Chief, Photographic Branch 

Kent Roberts Greenfield 
CoL Seneca W. Foote 
Lt. Col. E. E. Steck . 
Joseph R. Friedman 
Elliot Dunay 
Margaret E. Tackley 


. . . to Those Who Served 


This volume completes the bridge between combat and services in the 
European theater for which the author laid the foundations in Volume I. 
It is as important a book for combat commanders as for those who have to 
plan and execute logistical operations. It will leave the nonmilitary reader 
in no doubt of the enormous weight and complexity of the administrative 
burden that the Army had to assume to assure the success of its ground and 
air forces, and the resourcefulness with which it managed that burden. 
On the other hand, those who have to think about the future can here 
study a test of the principle of a single service of supply supporting the 
national element of allied forces under a coalition headquarters and a 
supreme allied commander. 

Washington, D. C. 
15 June 1958 

Maj. Gen., U. S. A. 
Chief of Military History 



This volume completes the story of the logistic support of U.S. forces 
in the European theater, carrying the account forward from mid-September 
1944 to the end of hostilities in May 1945. It follows the pattern, established 
in Logistical Support of the Armies, Volume I> of focusing on the influence 
which logistical support or lack of it had on the planning and the conduct 
of tactical operations. The inclination consequently has been to concen- 
trate on the problem areas in logistic support, such as port discharge and 
transportation difficulties, and supply and manpower shortages. As explained 
in the Preface to Volume I, it was not intended to cover all aspects of 
logistics as the term is commonly defined. To avoid duplication, such sub- 
jects as hospitalization and evacuation, communications, and construction 
are purposely left to the technical service histories, where they can be given 
proper coverage. The one major exception is the account of the rebuilding 
of Cherbourg, which was so important to the development of the logistic 
structure in the summer and early fall of 1944 that it is presented as a case 
history in planning and execution. A substantial amount of space has been 
given to the discussion of theater command and organization because of 
the persistent influence which that problem had on logistic support and on 
the relations between the service and combat elements. In general, the 
topical treatment predominates, but within the boundaries of the two dis- 
tinct periods of tactical developments. One major violation of chronology 
occurs in the treatment of local procurement (Chapter XVIII), which did 
not lend itself to division. 

The author's work was again lightened by the use of preliminary studies 
prepared by members of the Historical Section, ETO. For Volume II these 
were: Robert W. Coakley's two-volume study of theater command and 
organization; John E. Henderson's study of the replacement problem; and 
George H. Elliott's study of the use of indigenous manpower. Once again 
Mr. Royce L. Thompson gave invaluable aid in running down records and 
in researching several thorny problems. 

It is a pleasure to acknowledge the help of the several persons who con- 
tributed so cordially and generously in the final production of the volume: 
Mr. Joseph R. Friedman and Miss Ruth Stout for their expert editorial 
judgment; Mrs. Loretto Stevens for the laborious work of copy editing the 
manuscript; Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff for the excellent cartographic work; 


and Miss Margaret E. Tackley for the fine selection of photographs. Again 
the author wishes to acknowledge the able assistance provided by Mr. Israel 
Wice and his staff of the General Reference Branch of the Office, Chief of 
Military History, and by the personnel of the Departmental Records Branch, 
Adjutant General's Office, particularly Mrs. Blanche Moore and Mrs. Lois 
Aldridge. Key staff officers and commanders associated with the logistic 
support of U.S. forces in the ETO provided first-hand knowledge of the 
events of 1944-45 as they did for Volume I. Generals John C. H. Lee, 
Raymond G. Moses, Ewart G. Plank, Morris W. Gilland, and Frank S. Ross 
read varying portions of the manuscript in draft form. Biographical sketches 
of the principal commanders and staff officers of the Communications Zone 
are included in Volume I. 


Washington, D. C. 
15 June 1958 




Chapter Page 

(1) The Pursuit's Effect on Logistic Plans 3 

(2) Competing Tactical Plans 8 

(3) The September Decisions 11 

(4) Prospects at the End of September 17 


(1) Tactical Operations 22 

(2) Organization and Command 26 


(1) The Port Problem as Affected by the Pursuit 46 

(2) The Beaches and Minor Ports of Normandy 53 

(3) The Role of Cherbourg 62 

(4) The Brittany Area 89 



(1) The Seine Ports— he Havre and Rouen 96 

(2) Antwerp and the Other Northern Ports 104 

(3) Southern France 116 

(4) The Shipping Tie-up 124 


(1) Motor Transport: The Color Routes 134 

(2) The Railways 148 

(3) Air Transport 161 

(4) Inland Waterways 165 


(1) The Tonnage Allocations System 169 

(2) The Ardennes Counter offensive and Its Effect on Movements 181 


Chapter Page 


(1) Rations 188 

(2) POL 193 

(3) Coal 209 


(1) Class II and IV Shortages in General 215 

(2) The Case of the Winter Uniform 218 

(3) Weapons and Vehicles 235 


(1) The October Crisis 247 

(2) Contention With the War Department 257 

(3) The November Offensive and the Bull Mission . . . . 263 

(4) Ammunition Supply in December and January . . . . 269 

X. THE TROOP BUILD-UP, AUGUST 1944-MARCH 1945 . . 276 

(1) The Flow of Divisions 276 

(2) Service and Supporting Troops 289 


1945 3°4 

(1) Rumblings of a Replacement Problem 304 

(2) The Storm Breaks, November-December 1944 316 

(3) The Theater Acts, January-February 194$ 326 

(4) The Replacement System in Operation 334 


(1) The Communications Zone and the Field Commands . . 348 

(2) Expediting Supply Deliveries 351 

(3) Supply Planning Procedures 352 

(4) The Depot System and Records Keeping 355 

(5) Expedients 359 




(1) Tactical Developments, 8 Februarys May 1945 .... 367 

(2) Logistic Factors in Planning the Last Offensive .... 372 

(3) Command and Organization, February-August 1945 . . . 378 


Chapter Page 



(1) Planning and Controlling Movements 390 

(2) Discharge and Clearance 393 

(3) Shipping 398 

(4) BOLERO in Reverse 402 



(1) The Railways 405 

(2) Motor Transport-XYZ 415 

(3) Inland Waterways 424 

(4) Air Transport 424 

(5) Forward Deliveries 427 


(1) Rations, POL, and Coal ........... 433 

(2) Ammunition 441 

(3) Equipment 452 


(1) The Turning Point 459 

(2) Withdrawals Are Stopped 461 

(3) Results of the Retraining Program 467 


1944-AUGUST 1945 . 470 

(1) Purpose and Policy 470 

(2) The Use of Nonmilitary Labor 475 

(3) Local Procurement of Supplies 486 





INDEX 523 



No. Pa £ e 

1. Beach Discharges, 1 July-17 November 1944 57 

2. Discharge Performance of Normandy's Minor Ports 62 

3. Discharge Performance of the Brittany Ports 95 

4. Tonnages Discharged at Continental Ports, June 1944-April 1945 . . 124 

5. Artillery Ammunition Expenditures, 15-21 October 1944 .... 256 

6. 12th Army Group Artillery Ammunition Expenditures, 6 June-22 Oc- 

tober 1944, Compared With Day of Supply Rates 267 

7. Overlord Divisional Build-up, D plus 90 to D plus 210 281 

8. Divisional Build-up in the European Theater, 1942-1945 .... 282 

9. Theater Strength by Major Component, May 1944-April 1945 . . * 288 

10. Battle and Nonbattle Casualties, June 1944-May 1945 317 

11. Combat Zone Maintenance Factors, June-October 1944 430 

12. Combat Zone Consumption Experience, 23 March-25 April 1945 . , 432 

13. Ammunition Day of Supply by Type: Selected Planned Rates, Sep- 

tember 1944-April 1945, and Actual Expenditures, June 1944-Feb- 

ruary 1945 44 6 

14. Civilians Employed in the Communications Zone in Selected Weeks, 

1944-45 477 


1. Tactical Progress, 12 September 1944-9 February 1945 . . . . 23 

2. ETO Boundaries 30 

3. COMZ Boundaries, November 1944-January 1945 39 

4. The Port of Cherbourg 64 

5. Highway Express Routes, September 1944-February 1945 .... 136 

6. Tactical Developments, 8 February-8 May 1945 368 

7. COMZ Boundaries, April 1945 381 

8. Movement Program, March 1945 391 

9. Railways in Use by U.S. Forces East of Paris 411 

10. XYZ Truck Routes, 25 March-8 May 1945 420 

1.1. The POL Pipeline Systems 436 




Maj. Gen. Arthur R. Wilson 40 

Brig. Gen. John P. Ratay 41 

Maj. Gen. Thomas B. Larkin 43 

Troops Debarking Onto a Causeway 54 

Bulldozer Stuck in the Thick Mud 56 

The Port of Cherbourg 65 

Destruction at Cherbourg 68 

Marginal Wharf Construction 72 

Laying Railway Tracks 73 

Seatrain Unloading a Gondola 76 

LST's Discharging Cargo on the Beach 91 

Crane Lifting a Lock Gate 93 

Dukws Transferring Cargo 101 

Quay at Rouen Loaded With Incoming Supplies 103 

Ships Discharging Cargo for Clearance by Rail 112 

Remains of Decanting Site 116 

Searching for Casualties in Wreckage 117 

General Destruction at Marseille 120 

Close-up of Damaged Dock Facilities 121 

Trucks Loaded With Supplies 135 

Red Ball Express Trucks 138 

Truck-Tractor and Semitrailer Stuck in Thick Mud 142 

Loaded 10-Ton Semitrailers 144 

Truck Tractors, 5-Ton, Hauling 10-Ton Semitrailers 145 

Four 750-Gallon Skid Tanks 147 

American Locomotive Lowered by Crane 152 

Maj. Gen. Frank S. Ross 157 

Convoy of Trucks Carrying Essential Supplies 159 

C-47's Airdropping Supplies by Parachute 164 

Barge Convoy on Albert Canal 167 

Supply Trucks Passing Through Bastogne 185 

Portion of the Major Pipeline 196 

Camouflaged Pumping Station 197 

POL Storage Tanks 200 

Thousands of Jerricans 202 

Sign Appealing for the Return of Jerricans 206 

U.S. First Army's POL Reserves 208 

General Dwight D. Eisenhower 220 

Serving a Hot Meal to Cold Infantrymen 224 



Parsons Jacket 1941 227 

Infantryman Wearing a Field Jacket Mi 943 231 

Medium Tanks 240 

Street Fighting in Aachen 255 

"And me a Clerk-Typist!" 3*9 

Officer Candidate Class, Fontainebleau 332 

Orientation Lecture for Enlisted Men 339 

Infantry Replacements Checking Equipment 341 

Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell 355 

Ludendorff Railway Bridge 369 

Stacks of War Materiel in Open Storage 397 

Toot Sweet Express Ready To Leave Cherbourg 406 

Bridge Across the Rhine at Wesel 408 

Single-Track Railroad Bridge at Mainz 409 

Truck-Tractor and 40-Ton Tank Transporters 417 

Highway Bridge Over the Meuse River 423 

C-47 Transport Planes Bringing in POL 439 

Pershing Tanks M26 455 

M24 Light Tanks 457 

French Civilians Employed by U.S. Forces 480 

Italian Service Unit Men Loading Cases of Rations 483 

German Prisoners of War Filling 50-Gallon Oil Drums 487 

Renault Plant 490 

Belgian Workers in a Rubber Plant . 491 

Soldiers Equipping Medium Tank Tracks 493 

First Division Troops Wearing Winter Camouflage Garments .... 495 

The illustrations are from the files of the Department of Defense except 
for the cartoon by Sgt. Dick Winger t, page 329, courtesy of The Stars and Stripes. 




Logistic Limitations as the Arbiter 
of Tactical Planning 

(i) The Pursuit's Effect on Logistic Plans 

Three months after the landings in 
Normandy, the Allied armies, having 
pursued a disorganized enemy across 
northern France and up the Rhone val- 
ley, stood at the Dutch and German bor- 
ders in the north, at the Moselle River 
in the center, and at the entrance to the 
Belfort gap in the south. That they were 
stopped there in mid-September was due 
in part to the increasing resistance which 
a reorganized enemy was able to offer 
from the prepared defenses of the West 
Wall and along the Moselle, and in part 
to supply shortages. 

The supply shortages were the more 
exasperating because they occurred in 
the midst of spectacular advances and 
because they helped frustrate a short- 
lived hope that the war might quickly 
be brought to an end. Within a matter 
of days the deteriorating logistic situa- 
tion led to one of the most reluctantly 
made, and most debated, decisions of the 
war. This was the decision ^which General 
Dwight D. Eisenhower made late in Sep- 
tember to halt offensive operations on a 
large part of the front and to concentrate 
the bulk of the Allied resources on a 
relatively narrow front in the north. 

The shortages which forced this deci- 
sion were only a foretaste of a prolonged 
supply famine. For a period of almost 
three months logistic limitations largely 
dominated tactical planning, and U.S. 
forces learned to their dismay how sup- 
ply, instead of holding her rightful posi- 
tion as the handmaiden of battle, could 
become war's mistress. 

The inability to continue the pursuit 
of the shaken enemy forces was exasperat- 
ing to combat commanders, and it was 
not to be expected that they would react 
calmly and objectively to the restrictions 
imposed by logistic difficulties. The ne- 
cessity to halt the advance has been 
variously ascribed to the shortage of 
gasoline, to shortcomings within the 
Communications Zone (including the al- 
leged preoccupation of service troops 
with luxurious living and black-market 
activities), to "high level politics/* to 
undue favoritism toward the British, 
and, according to a British view, to the 
excessive strain on transport caused by 
Third Army's advanced position. It is 
not within the province of this volume 
to weigh all these charges. But the acri- 
monious debate which attended the sup- 
ply difficulties early in September makes 



it appropriate to consider the larger ques- 
tion of the reasons why the Communica- 
tions Zone was unable to meet the de- 
mands placed upon it, and to consider 
the purely logistic aspects of the various 
operational plans for which the field 
commands now claimed priority. 

The reasons for the so-called "supply 
failure" become apparent enough when 
one recalls the invasion plan and com- 
pares the expected with the actual course 
of the operation. The predicted develop- 
ment of the Overlord operation was 
based on both tactical and logistical con- 
siderations. On its operational side the 
plan was predicated on an estimate that 
the enemy would make successive stands 
on the major water barriers across France 
and Belgium. In accord with this assump- 
tion it was expected that he would make 
a stand at the Seine and that that line 
would not be reached until D plus 90. 
Furthermore, plans had contemplated a 
fairly steady rate of advance rather than 
the pursuit of a disorganized enemy. 
While such a forecast of progress was 
admittedly conjectural, it necessarily 
formed the basis of logistic preparations. 
In the belief, for example, that the Seine 
ports would not quickly become avail- 
able, great emphasis was placed on the 
development of the Brittany area, and 
a pause of at least a month at the Seine 
was expected to be necessary to develop 
an administrative base capable of sup- 
porting further offensives. 

Even on these assumptions the margin 
of safety of the Overlord logistic plan 
was believed to be nonexistent. In an 
administrative appreciation prepared 
early in June, SHAEF planners had con- 
cluded that port capacity would suffice 
to support the planned build-up pro- 

vided only that the ports were captured 
on the dates forecast, and then only by 
the narrowest margin. In fact, deficits in 
port discharge capacity were predicted 
beginning in the fifth month (October). 
They admitted that there were certain 
hidden assets, such as supply by air and 
other possible expedients. But there was 
also the possibility of additional liabili- 
ties. Any material variation in logistical 
planning factors, such as a higher rate 
of demolitions, or tonnage requirements 
larger than estimated, would impinge 
directly on the rate of build-up and capa- 
bility of support. By the same token any 
unexpected acceleration in the advance 
would have a like effect in creating addi- 
tional port discharge and transportation 
liabilities. 1 

Since the Overlord operation devel- 
oped quite differently from what had 
been expected, the assumptions on which 
the schedules had been based were largely 
voided. For the first seven weeks the 
advance was much slower than antici- 
pated, and the Allied forces were con- 
fined to a shallow Normandy bridgehead. 
From the viewpoint of logistic support, 
the lag in operations was not immediately 
serious, for it resulted in short lines of 
communication and gave the service 
forces added time to develop the port 
facilities at Cherbourg, whose capture 
had been delayed. But the long restric- 
tion to this area promised serious con- 
sequences for the future, for the port 
capacity of Cherbourg and the beaches 
severely limited the force which could 
be maintained during the fall and winter 

Whatever temporary advantage ac- 

l Adm Appreciation, SHAEF G-4 Post-NEPTUNE 
Opns, 17 Jun 44, SHAEF, 12 A Gp 370.2. 



crued from the short lines of communi- 
cation and low maintenance scales in 
Normandy quickly disappeared after the 
breakout at the end of July. By D plus 79 
(24 August) Allied forces had closed to 
the Seine eleven days ahead of schedule 
despite a lag of approximately thirty 
days at the beginning of the breakout. 
Tactically, and to some extent logistically, 
the spectacular encircling drive of early 
August brought definite advantages to 
the Allied forces. It resulted in the al- 
most complete destruction of the German 
Seventh Army and thus eliminated a 
large enemy force which later might 
have delayed the Allied advance to the 
Seine; it greatly accelerated the whole 
campaign and helped ensure a rapid ad- 
vance to the enemy's border; and it fa- 
cilitated the early capture of the Seine 
ports and Antwerp, making it possible 
to cancel plans for the capture of Qui- 
beron Bay and southern Brittany ports. 

From the point of view of logistic sup- 
port the rapid advance to the Seine also 
had its less favorable aspects, and even at 
this early date (D plus 79) foreshadowed 
serious complications. The fact that the 
Overlord objective was reached on D 
plus 79 rather than D plus 90 was in it- 
self not serious, for the supply structure 
was sufficiently flexible to accommodate 
itself to a variation of eleven days. The 
departure from the scheduled advance 
had actually been more serious. Because 
of the initial lag in operations, U.S. 
forces had been at the D-plus-20 line at 
D plus 49, and between D plus 49 and D 
plus 79, a period of thirty days, had actu- 
ally advanced a distance which by plan 
was to have been covered in seventy days. 
The lines of communication obviously 
could not be developed beyond St. L6 

in the period before the breakout, and in 
the subsequent period could not be de- 
veloped at the speed with which tanks 
and other combat vehicles were able to 
race to the Seine. The result was that the 
armies had already used up their opera- 
tional reserves by the time they reached 
the Seine. Since rail lines and pipelines 
could not be pushed forward quickly 
enough, motor transport facilities were 
strained to the breaking point attempt- 
ing to meet even the barest maintenance 
needs of the armies. The Communica- 
tions Zone consequently found it impos- 
sible to establish stocks in advance de- 
pots. Furthermore, none of the Brittany 
ports had as yet been captured, and only 
one major port— Cherbourg— was opera- 
tional. It remained to be seen whether 
compensation could be gained by the 
earlier opening of either Le Havre or 

But the arrival at the Seine marked 
only the beginning of supply difficulties. 
Despite the logistic complications which 
the rapid advance had already clearly 
foreshadowed, the decision was now 
made to cross the Seine, and a few days 
later to encircle Paris and to continue 
the pursuit without pause. On purely 
tactical grounds such decisions were logi- 
cally indicated. The decisive victory in 
the Falaise-Argentan pocket and the dis- 
integration of enemy resistance offered 
opportunities which it would have been 
folly to ignore. Furthermore, with forty- 
six divisions on the Continent, the Allies 
enjoyed a definite superiority in both 
armor and infantry, as well as in air 
power, and could move in almost any 
direction against a weakened enemy. 

The situation in northern France, 
coupled with the Seventh Army's success- 



ful drive from the south, appeared so 
favorable, in fact, as to afford an oppor- 
tunity to broaden the entire scope of the 
drive into Germany. Post-OvERLORD 
plans (beyond D plus 90) had contem- 
plated only a secondary effort south of 
the Ardennes along the axis Reims- 
Verdun-Metz by a relatively small force. 
This force was to have the mission of 
diverting enemy resistance from the 
main thrust in the north and preventing 
the escape of enemy troops from south- 
west France by linking up with Seventh 
Army forces moving up the valley of 
the Rhone. This plan was now modified 
to provide for an attack along the sub- 
sidiary axis in greater strength than 
originally contemplated, although the 
main effort was still to be made in the 

From the point of view of logistics 
these decisions to cross the Seine and con- 
tinue the pursuit, and to augment the 
forces employed south of the Ardennes, 
constituted a radical departure from 
earlier plans. They carried with them 
a supply task out of all proportion to 
planned capabilities. They were much 
more far-reaching in their effects than 
the alteration in plans of early August 
by which the bulk of the Third Army's 
forces had been directed eastward rather 
than into Brittany. With the supply 
structure already severely strained by 
the speed with which the last 200 miles 
had been covered, these decisions en- 
tailed the risk of a complete breakdown. 

The continued advances late in August 
and at the beginning of September con- 
sequently brought hectic days and sleep- 
less nights to supply officers. All the diffi- 
culties which had already begun to 
appear during the approach to the Seine 

were now further aggravated. The main 
problem, as before, was the deficiency 
in transport, which only worsened as the 
lines of communication extended farther 
and farther eastward. Despite great ef- 
forts, Tail reconstruction was unable to 
keep pace with the advance. Air supply 
repeatedly failed to match its predicted 
capacity. Motor transport therefore con- 
tinued to bear the principal burden of 
forward movement and was unable to 
deliver daily maintenance needs, to say 
nothing of stocking intermediate or ad- 
vance supply depots. 

The unbearable supply task which 
the continued advance created can best 
be appreciated by comparing planned 
with actual developments. At D plus 90 
it had been assumed that no more than 
twelve U.S. divisions would have to be 
supported at the Seine. Not until D plus 
120 was it thought feasible to support 
twelve divisions in their first offensive 
action beyond that barrier, and not until 
D plus 150 was it contemplated that a 
' 'minor advance" might be supported 
from the Aisne River as a line of depar- 
ture, seventy-five miles beyond the Seine. 2 
At D plus 90 (4 September), however, 
the Communications Zone was already 
supporting sixteen divisions at a distance 
of 150 miles beyond the Seine. Within 
another ten days (mid-September) First 
Army forces were operating at the Ger- 
man border in the vicinity of Aachen, 
well over 200 miles beyond Paris. Since 
plans had not contemplated reaching that 
area until D plus 330 (May 1945), it 
was necessary to support U.S. forces at 
this distance approximately 2 30 days 
earlier than expected. Moreover, the city 

2 Ibid., Annexure M. 



of Paris had become an additional sup- 
ply liability as the result of its liberation 
on D plus 80, 55 days earlier than ex- 
pected. U.S. supply lines were now 450 
miles long, leading exclusively from 
Cherbourg and the beaches, still the 
only points of intake. 

In addition to overtaxing transport 
facilities, this extension of the lines of 
communication made unbearable de- 
mands on all types of service troop units. 
The service troop basis, like transporta- 
tion facilities, was based on the more 
conservative rate of advance envisaged 
in the Overlord plan. When the tempo 
of operations accelerated in August, re- 
quiring the leapfrogging of depots and 
dumps and a high degree of mobility 
for supply stocks, available depot units 
were soon distributed thinly over most 
of northern France, and were unequal 
to the task. 

At least some of the difficulties 
stemmed from the delay in capturing 
the Brittany ports, for port discharge and 
port clearance capacity were already 
proving inadequate. Scheduled to de- 
velop a discharge capacity of nearly 
14,000 tons per day by D plus 90, the 
Brittany ports, with the exception of 
St, Malo, were still in enemy hands at 
this date. As a result, the entire capacity 
of the Brittany area, which had been 
counted on so heavily in logistic plan- 
ning, was still unavailable to U.S. forces. 

The delay in the capture of the Brit- 
tany ports was at least partially the fruit 
of the decision of early August by which 
the largest possible force was devoted 
to the exploitation of the breakthrough 
to the east. This decision almost ines- 
capably involved postponement in the 
capture of the Brittany ports and was a 

decision for which the Communications 
Zone bore no responsibility. In fact, it 
was only because of the pressure of logis- 
tical planners that a full corps was de- 
voted to the task. In the view of the 
chief of the G-4 Logistical Plans Branch 
at SHAEF, there was an element of poetic 
justice in the fact that the Third Army, 
whose mission it was to clear Brittany, 
later felt so acutely the shortage of sup- 
plies which resulted in part from the 
failure to acquire the Brittany ports. 3 

Contrary to plan, therefore, and as 
a direct consequence of the late August 
decisions, the Communications Zone 
within a matter of days suddenly had 
been faced with the task of supplying 
considerably greater forces at much 
greater distances than contemplated. 
This, despite a motor transport deficiency 
which had been predicted before D Day 
on the basis of even the conservative 
schedules of the Overlord plan; despite 
the failure to develop the port discharge 
capacity of the Brittany area, which had 
been regarded as essential to the admin- 
istrative support of U.S. forces; and de- 
spite the premature assumption of re- 
sponsibilities in connection with the 
civil relief of Paris. 

In view of the Communications Zone's 
performances far in excess of what was 
believed feasible in the Overlord plan, 
it might be argued that estimates of 
logistic capabilities had been far too 
conservative. But these performances did 
not represent full-scale support, and 
were accomplished only by resorting to 
such expedients as immobilizing incom- 
ing divisions and other combat elements 

3 Col. William Whipple, "Logistical Bottleneck," 
The Infantry Journal, LXII (March, 1948), 14. 



in order to provide additional truck 
companies, using army transportation 
for line-of-communications hauling, cur- 
tailing port clearance, and largely ne- 
glecting the armies' needs for replace- 
ment equipment and supplies. These 
were obviously makeshift arrangements 
which could not be continued indefi- 
nitely, and later exacted a big price. 
They were expedients, moreover, which 
were attended by such practices as hi- 
jacking supplies and "diverting" entire 
truck companies, and involved many 
other irregular practices which pre- 
vented an orderly and businesslike or- 
ganization of the Communications Zone. 
They left deep scars and had a prolonged 
effect on its efficiency and on its ability 
to serve the armies. 

According to a belief commonly held 
at the time, the armies might have rolled 
on had they only had sufficient gasoline. 
Such a view ignored the many other re- 
quirements of a modern army on wheels. 
By mid-September ordnance equipment 
—particularly combat vehicles and trucks 
—was already badly worn. Both armies 
had entered the Continent with new 
equipment, and in the first weeks main- 
tenance had been a relatively simple 
matter. For six weeks following the 
breakout from Normandy, weather, ter- 
rain, and the disorganization and weak- 
ness of the enemy had presented ideal 
conditions for a gasoline-powered army. 
In that period the two armies made a 
grueling run across northern France 
without adequate maintenance. Forward 
reserves of major items and of spare parts 
were practically nonexistent. 4 It had 
been impossible to establish an adequate 

4 FUSA Rpt of Opns, Bk. IV, p. 2. 

depot system, and the great bulk of all 
supplies on the Continent were still in 
the Normandy base area. 

The whirlwind advances of August 
and early September thus left the Com- 
munications Zone in the condition of an 
immature athlete who has overexerted 
himself in his first test of endurance. 
And there was no time for true recovery. 
The task of delivering the increasing 
daily needs of the combat forces re- 
mained. At the same time the Communi- 
cations Zone had to adjust itself to cir- 
cumstances wholly unexpected a few 
weeks earlier, and try to build the muscle 
required to meet the strain of future 
extensions of the supply lines. 

(2) Competing Tactical Plans 

Although exasperated by the increas- 
ing difficulties over supply, field com- 
manders did not immediately appreciate 
the full implications of the worsening 
logistic situation. A heady optimism still 
pervaded the Allied forces in the first 
days of September, and in at least two 
of the major field headquarters— Third 
Army and 21 Army Group— there were 
strong convictions that the war could be 
shortened if they were afforded priority 
in supply. 5 

The possibility of a quick drive across 
the Rhine by the Third Army was care- 
fully investigated at Supreme Headquar- 
ters late in August. At the time there ap- 
peared little in the way of enemy forces 
to prevent such an advance, and it was 
believed by some that a bold thrust 
would induce an immediate surrender. 

6 See Forrest C. Pogue, Jhe- Supreme Command, 
(Washington, 1954), pages 250-60, for a fuller dis- 



Planners of 12 th Army Group admitted 
that it could be carried out only by 
sacrificing the mobility of other forces, 
for transportation was already sorely 
strained. The Third Army by this pro- 
posal would be given priority on all avail- 
able supplies. With a strength of not 
more than ten or twelve divisions, it was 
argued, this force could be maintained 
if other armies were held inactive; if 
bombers, in addition to troop carrier 
planes, were used for the transport of 
supplies; and if British forces were held 
at the Seine or shortly beyond that river. 
Even by these measures the advocates of 
the plan agreed that the force probably 
could be supported only a short distance 
beyond the Rhine, possibly as far as 

From both the strategic and logistic 
standpoints the plan had several weak- 
nesses. A force of 10 or 12 divisions con- 
stituted but a small portion of the Allied 
forces then on the Continent (47 divi- 
sions at the end of August). It was also 
a relatively small force compared with 
the still-existing German Army in the 
west. A narrow thrust to the Rhine would 
not have impaired the strength of that 
force materially, and an advance in the 
center of the western front would have 
created exposed flanks of great length 
to both the north and south. In the north 
this flank would have extended approxi- 
mately 300 miles through enemy terri- 
tory, and would have rendered the Third 
Army lines of communication especially 
vulnerable to attack, particularly in 
view of the forced immobility of "quies- 
cent" Allied divisions operating at re- 
duced maintenance scales in the rear. 
Fighter cover would also be difficult to 
establish as far forward as the Rhine, 

for the establishment of advance fields 
required precious supplies and transpor- 
tation. 6 Furthermore, Frankfurt was not 
an objective of prime importance, and 
the area which the advance would have 
occupied included neither the political 
nor economic heart of Germany. 

Most important of all was the great 
gamble which such an undertaking 
would have entailed from the point of 
view of future logistic support. The con- 
centration of all resources into a single 
thrust in the Third Army area would cer- 
tainly have required indefinite post- 
ponement of any attempt to capture 
Antwerp. Without this port there was 
little hope of receiving, staging, and 
employing the new divisions arriving 
each month, and no possibility that the 
logistic potential would be great enough 
to allow the extension of the Third 
Army's operations beyond Frankfurt. 

Finally, the entire proposal was predi- 
cated on the conviction that the enemy 
could be frightened into immediate ca- 
pitulation. Herein lay the crux of the 
whole matter. Such a result was by no 
means assured at this time. While the 
enemy was badly disorganized at the mo- 
ment, there was no certainty as to what 
was transpiring inside Germany despite 
the attempted assassination of Hitler in 
July. Should the enemy refuse to be 
shocked into immediate surrender, the 
operation, in the view of the logistic 
planners, would bring the Allied forces 
to the brink of administrative disaster. 

9 Competition was already keen for the use of 
advance fields for tactical use and the reception of 
air-transported cargo. See Roland G. Ruppenthal, 
Logistical Support of the Armies, Volume I: May 
1941-September 1944, UNITED STATES ARMY 
IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1953), pp. 576- 
77. (Hereafter cited as Logistical Support I) 



The chance of success was a long one, 
therefore, and the possibility of failure 
too serious in its implications for future 
operations. 7 In general, this view repre- 
sented informal staff reaction at Supreme 
Headquarters at the time, and General 
Eisenhower decided against the drive by 
the Third Army. 

The proposed operation was not only 
hazardous; it ran counter to all the con- 
clusions reached concerning the course 
to follow in the final drive into Germany. 
Allied planners had long ago decided 
that the major effort should be made in 
the north. Strategic, tactical, and logisti- 
cal considerations had all favored such a 
plan of action. The northern route led 
most directly to the principal objectives 
in the enemy homeland— the industrial 
Ruhr and the governmental seat at Ber- 
lin. Tactically the terrain in the north 
was far more suitable than the southern 
approach for the employment of tanks. 
Logistically it was favored by close prox- 
imity to the channel ports and by excel- 
lent road and rail networks. The Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff as well as the theater 
planners had long since favored this 
avenue for the main effort in the final 
advance into Germany. 

Even in the north, however, Allied op- 
erations were being restricted by the 
means available. Early in September con- 
sideration was given to a 21 Army Group 
proposal for a rapid thrust to Berlin, a 
plan even more ambitious than the one 
just rejected. A study of the logistic im- 
plications of such an operation led the 
SHAEF G-4 staff to conclude that it 
could be carried out. But its conclusions 
were based on assumptions which soon 

'Whipple, op. ext., p. 12. 

proved completely unrealistic. The study 
assumed, for example, that the main 
forces of both army groups would have 
reached the Rhine by 15 September 
and that the thrust to Berlin could 
develop at that date. It established as 
a prerequisite, moreover, that by that 
date the Allies would already be dis- 
charging cargo at Antwerp to the ex- 
tent of 1,500 tons per day. Other as- 
sumptions were made regarding the use 
of railheads at Brussels, Chalons-sur- 
Marne, and Paris, and the reduction 
of maintenance scales and port clearance 
to save transportation. But the overrid- 
ing need was for transportation, and to 
obtain sufficient lift, the study concluded, 
would require the widest possible use of 
air transport and the most thoroughgo- 
ing marshaling of motor transport yet 

It was estimated that the thrust could 
be made by three British and two U.S. 
corps. The support of such a force re- 
quired the equivalent of 489 truck com- 
panies. At the moment there were only 
347 available, leaving a shortage of 142. 
This deficit, it was proposed, might be 
made up in part by air transport, which 
was believed capable of achieving a lift 
of 2,000 tons per day, the equivalent of 
60 truck companies. But the largest part 
of the deficit was to be met by the whole- 
sale grounding of divisions. By diverting 
their organic truck companies and by 
forming provisional companies from 
both U.S. and British units it was esti- 
mated that 181 companies could be made 
available. Combined with the airlift, an 
equivalent of 241 companies was thus 
believed attainable. By these measures 
it was thought possible to support five 
corps in the operation, three driving to 



Berlin, one British corps to the Bremen- 
Hamburg area, and one U.S. corps to the 
area of Frankfurt-Magdeburg. Ten U.S. 
divisions (1 in Paris, 9 in the Cotentin) 
would have to be grounded, and an addi- 
tional 12 U.S. divisions relegated to a 
"quiescent" state (6 in Brittany, 3 in 
the Frankfurt-Metz area, and 3 in the 
area of Ruhr-Koblenz). Only one U.S. 
corps of three divisions could actually 
be supported as far forward as Berlin, 
and even these divisions on reduced 

Only on the basis of the optimum con- 
ditions outlined above was the operation 
considered at all possible. Since the as- 
sumptions on which the plan was based 
—reaching the Rhine and using Antwerp 
by 15 September— proved invalid, it ap- 
pears that such an operation was quite 
infeasible. 8 

Logistic limitations at the beginning 
of September thus made it inadvisable 
to attempt either of the two schemes 
outlined above. While the thrust in the 
south was logistically feasible, its reward 
was uncertain and even of dubious value, 
and the operation was most hazardous 
from the point of view of future needs. 
The thrust in the north, while in accord 
with long-range plans, for the moment 
was clearly beyond available means. 

( 3) The September Decisions 

While reluctantly concluding that any 
effort involving a major extension of the 
lines of communication was out of the 
question, SHAEF nevertheless had con- 
tinued to examine alternative possibili- 
ties of maintaining the offensive. Specifi- 

8 Ping Paper, Logistical Implications of a Rapid 
Thrust to Berlin, Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 Logistical 
Forecasts, Folder 13. 

cally, General Eisenhower had hoped that 
a force might be built up east of Paris 
for an additional drive on the subsidiary 
axis south of the Ardennes. As early as 
24 August the Supreme Commander had 
tentatively concluded that such a project 
appeared impossible and decided on the 
necessity to push northeastward in ac- 
cordance with long-standing strategic 
plans, meanwhile completing the con- 
quest of Brittany so as to provide the 
ports required for the accelerated flow 
of divisions. 9 

The uninterrupted success of the Al- 
lied armies in the following weeks con- 
tinued to nourish the hope that a two- 
pronged offensive might yet be carried 
out. In the first week of September Gen- 
eral Eisenhower decided that such simul- 
taneous drives to both the Ruhr and the 
Saar were still within the Allies' capa- 
bilities, and he accordingly authorized 
an advance across the Siegfried Line by 
both U.S. armies. He admitted that the 
supply organization by this time was 
stretched to the breaking point, and 
that such an operation therefore in- 
volved a gamble. But he believed it 
was a gamble worth taking in order to 
profit fully by the disorganized state of 
the German armies in the west. 10 On 
10 September Lt. Gen. Omar N. Brad- 
ley gave the First and Third Armies 
equal priority for supply for the opera- 
tion, subject only to the higher priority 
accorded the capture of Brest. 

Supply of the armies was touch and go 
at this time, and it was necessary to keep 
a constant finger on the logistic pulse to 

9 Cbl, Eisenhower to Marshall, 24 Aug 44, OPD 
Exec Office File 9. 

10 Cbl FWD-14376, Eisenhower to CCS, 9 Sep. 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Post-OVERLORD Planning. 



determine whether operations could con- 
tinue on the scale desired. On 1 2 Septem- 
ber General Bradley met with his army 
commanders and their G-4's, and with 
the Commanding General, Advance Sec- 
tion, and the G-4 of the Communica- 
tions Zone to discuss the relation be- 
tween the supply situation and the tacti- 
cal moves then in progress. Both armies 
at this time reported sufficient ammuni- 
tion and gasoline to carry them to the 
Rhine, In view of the current tactical 
commitments and the relatively good 
state of supply at the moment, General 
Bradley decided to permit the simultane- 
ous attacks by the two armies to continue. 
Supply capabilities were clearly unequal 
to the support of sustained operations by 
both armies against determined opposi- 
tion, however, for deliveries were being 
made at the rate of only about 3,300 tons 
per day to the First Army and 2,500 tons 
to the Third. The dual offensive was sup- 
portable, therefore, only if it could con- 
tinue at its previous pace and achieve 
quick success. Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, 
Jr., Commanding General, Third Army, 
accordingly was told that unless he was 
able to force a crossing of the Moselle 
with the mass of his forces within the 
next few days he was to discontinue the 
attacks and assume the defensive along 
his southern flank. 

This condition could not be met. 
Within the next ten days increasing re- 
sistance in both the First and Third 
Army sectors brought about a shift of 
effort and of available resources to the 
north, as was suspected might be neces- 

By mid-September, then, the Allied 
forces had definitely become the victims 
of their own success; logistic limitations 

had clearly come to dominate operational 
plans. Indeed, a survey of supply capabil- 
ities at this time indicated that logistic 
restrictions might determine the scale 
of the Allies' efforts for some time to 
come. U.S. cargo discharge was averaging 
less than 35,000 tons daily. This was in- 
sufficient to clear the arriving shipping, 
with the result that over a hundred Lib- 
erty ships were already awaiting dis- 
charge early in September. 

Even this tonnage was more than 
could be cleared from the ports by the 
available personnel and transport. The 
number of truck companies available 
for port clearance had dropped to sixteen 
and sometimes less as a result of the de- 
mands for line-of-communications haul- 
ing, and supplies were accumulating in 
the ports and in the beach areas. Inade- 
quate transportation plus the deficit in 
port discharge capacity thus threatened 
to create a bad congestion both offshore 
and in the Normandy base area. 11 

These basic deficiencies were bound 
to restrict the number of divisions sup- 
portable in active operations and hence 
limit the scale of combat. At D plus 90 
(4 September) the build-up of U.S. divi- 
sions on the Continent totaled twenty- 
one as planned (plus the southern 
forces), despite the acceleration of July. 
After the middle of August, however, it 
had been impossible to maintain all divi- 
sions adequately. By early September 
three had been immobilized and their 
motor transport used to form provisional 
truck companies. Two new divisions— 
the 94th and 95th— were to begin arriving 
on 10 September. But Brig. Gen. Ray- 

n Ltr, Whipple to CAO, sub: U.S. Troop Flow 
To Support a Maximum Effort, n.d. [early Sep], 
SHAEF G-4 Logistical Forecasts, Folder 13. 



mond G. Moses, the army group G-4, 
doubted whether they could be sup- 
ported east of the Seine, and surmised 
that they might also have to remain in 
the lodgment area and be made available 
to the Communications Zone in order 
to increase the latter's hauling capacity. 12 

Logistic planners estimated that there 
would be twenty-nine divisions on the 
Continent by 1 October (in addition to 
the Dragoon forces in southern France) 
but thought it unlikely that more than 
twenty of these could be maintained in 
combat as far forward as the Rhine at 
that date on the basis of the current lo- 
gistic outlook. Any extension of the lines 
of communication beyond the Rhine 
promised to reduce further the number 
of divisions supportable in combat. 13 

This concern over the size of the forces 
which could be supported beyond the 
Rhine reflected the optimism which still 
pervaded the higher headquarters in 
mid-September and which proved quite 
unrealistic. But while crossing the Rhine 
and seizing the vital Ruhr objective in 
the north were still considered feasible, 
the gloomy logistic forecasts served to 
underscore one conclusion which had 
already been accepted by Supreme Head- 
quarters if not the lower echelons. This 
was that, even should it prove possible to 
capture both the Saar and Ruhr objec- 
tives, these areas were at the absolute 
maximum distance at which Allied forces 
could be supported for the time being 
and it would be absolutely imperative 
to develop additional logistic capacity 
before attempting a power thrust deep 

19 Memo, Moses for CofS 12 A Gp, sub: Use of 
Divs on Line of Communications, 5 Sep 44, 12 A 
Gp G-4 Memos 1944, Folder 56, Drawer n. 

13 Ltr, Whipple to CAO (early Sep). 

into Germany. General Eisenhower felt 
that the supply organization was now 
stretched to its absolute limit both as to 
port intake and inland distribution. He 
believed that the line at which adminis- 
trative difficulties were expected to im- 
pose a period of relative inaction, orig- 
inally expected to be the Seine, had cer- 
tainly now been reached* 14 

The situation in mid-September 
clearly indicated an urgent need to 
shorten the lines of communication. The 
problem was actually a dual one, for 
there was a parallel need for additional 
port capacity. The maximum force which 
could be supported through Cherbourg 
and the beaches was rapidly being 
reached, and new capacity was required 
to compensate for that lost in Brittany. 

The obvious solution to this dual re- 
quirement lay in the development of the 
Seine ports and Antwerp. Even at the 
time the Allied forces were crossing the 
Seine, when the capture of the Brittany 
ports was still considered of prime impor- 
tance, General Eisenhower had empha- 
sized the imperative necessity in the 
drive to the northeast to secure a "perma- 
nent and adequate base at Antwerp." 15 

The further extension of the lines of 
communication in the next few weeks 
served to enhance the importance of 
Antwerp even more. Conferences with 
his top commanders between 9 and 11 
September sustained the Supreme Com- 
mander in his previous conviction that 
the early seizure of deepwater ports and 
the improvement of base facilities were 
essential prerequisites to a final drive 

"Ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 14 Sep 44, OPD 
Exec Office File 9; Cbl FWD-13792, OPD Cbl Files. 
,s Cbl, Eisenhower to Marshall, 24 Aug 44. 



into Germany. His analysis of the situa- 
tion is clearly revealed in cables which 
he addressed to both the army group 
commanders and the Combined Chiefs 
of Staff on 13 September. In the Su- 
preme Commander's view the port posi- 
tion at this time was such that a stretch 
of a week or ten days of bad Channel 
weather— a condition which became more 
and more probable with the aproaching 
fall months— would paralyze Allied activ- 
ities and make the maintenance of the 
armies even in a defensive role exceed- 
ingly difficult. Distribution of supplies 
on the Continent was approaching solu- 
tion, he felt, through the improvement 
in the railway system. But the most im- 
mediate objective, and one which had 
been foreseen as essential from the very 
inception of the Overlord plan, was 
winning deepwater ports and improv- 
ing communications. 10 

The Allied forces at this time had be- 
fore them two possible courses of action. 
(1) They could concentrate all resources 
behind a single blow on a narrow front 
directed toward the center of Germany (a 
proposal favored by the 21 Army Group 
commander). (2) They could advance 
along the entire front with the aim of 
seizing suitable positions on the German 
frontier where they could regroup, estab- 
lish maintenance facilities, and mount a 
broad drive into Germany. The first 
course, conceived of as a "knife-like 
thrust" to Berlin, had already been 
rejected by the Supreme Commander 

10 Cbl FWD- 14764, Eisenhower to CCS and Major 
Comds, 13 Sep 44, 12 A Gp 371.3 Mil Objectives, 
and SHAEF AG 381-3 SHAEF to AGWAR Rpts on 

on both tactical and administrative 
grounds. 17 

Logistic resources were likewise lack- 
ing for the full implementation of the 
second course, for they were not suffi- 
cient to permit simultaneous attacks 
along the entire front. The decision, as 
announced by the Supreme Commander, 
provided that the Allies were to push 
forward to the Rhine, securing bridge- 
heads over that river, seize the Ruhr, and 
concentrate in preparation for a final 
nonstop drive into Germany. Because of 
the limited logistic capabilities available, 
the timing of the Allies' efforts toward 
the attainment of immediate objectives 
along the entire front now became of 
the utmost importance. Implementation 
of this plan consequently required a suc- 
cession of attacks, first by the 21 Army 
Group, then by First Army, and then by 
the Third Army, with supply priority 
shifting as necessary. Tactical operations, 
to paraphrase an old maxim, had now 
definitely become the art of the logisti- 
cally possible. 18 

The paramount influence which logis- 
tic considerations were to have in any 
operations undertaken in the near fu- 
ture went beyond the determination of 
the scale and timing of attacks. Future 
logistic needs also figured large in the 
determination of immediate objectives, 
for General Eisenhower specified that 
additional bases must be secured simul- 
taneously with the attacks eastward. Ac- 
cordingly, the Supreme Commander 

17 Cbl FWD- 13889, Eisenhower to Montgomery, 5 
Sep 44, Eyes Only Cbls, Smith Papers, Dept of 
Army Library. 

18 For a fuller discussion of the debate on strategy 
in September see Pogue, The Supreme Command, 
pp. 288-98. 



gave Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Mont- 
gomery, the 2 1 Army Group commander, 
the mission of securing the approaches to 
Antwerp or Rotterdam and the capture 
of additional Channel ports; and he or- 
dered General Bradley to reduce Brest 
as quickly as possible in order to accom- 
modate the staging of additional divi- 
sions, and to make physical junction with 
the forces from the south so that the sup- 
ply lines leading from Marseille might 
assist in the support of the 12 th Army 
Group as soon as any surplus capacity 
could be developed. 19 

It was in accord with the above deci- 
sions that the 2 i Army Group was given 
preference in the allocation of the avail- 
able administrative means for the com- 
bined U.S. -British airborne operation 
known as Market-Garden, which was 
launched on 17 September with the in- 
tention of winning a bridgehead over 
the Rhine and turning the flank of the 
enemy's fortified defense line in the 
north. Market-Garden was a limited 
objective operation, however, as General 
Eisenhower later found it necessary to 
re-emphasize. At a meeting with his prin- 
cipal staff officers and top commanders 
held on 22 September he took pains to 
make clear his desire that all concerned 
"differentiate clearly between the logis- 
tic requirements for attaining objectives 
covered by present directives, including 
the seizure of the Ruhr and breaching the 
Siegfried Line, and the requirements for 
the final drive on Berlin." In this con- 
nection he demanded general acceptance 
of the fact that the possession of an addi- 
tional major deepwater port on the 
north flank was an indispensable prereq- 

10 Cbl, Eisenhower to CCS and Major Coinds, 13 
Sep 44. 

uisite for the final drive into Germany. 20 
Even the present operation in the north, 
he noted in a separate communication to 
Field Marshal Montgomery, was a bold 
bid for a big prize in view of the current 
maintenance situation. The Supreme 
Commander considered the operation 
amply worth the risk. But he took this 
additional opportunity to stress once 
again the conviction that a large-scale 
drive into the "enemy's heart" was un- 
thinkable without building up additional 
logistic potential. He indicated that this 
desideratum was now taken for granted 
in his own mind by closing with the 
remark, "Of course, we need Antwerp." 21 

The dilemma in which the Allies 
found themselves at this time was a di- 
rect outcome of the August and early 
September decisions by which logistic 
considerations had been repeatedly sub- 
ordinated to the enticing prospects which 
beckoned eastward. General Eisenhower 
himself admitted that he had repeatedly 
been willing to defer the capture of ports 
(referring obviously to Brittany) in favor 
of the bolder actions which had taken 
the Allied armies to the German border. 
But such deferments could no longer be 
made in view of the approaching bad 
weather and the resistance the enemy was 
beginning to offer in fortress defense. 22 

The necessity for building up the logis- 
tic potential before attempting major 
offensives was more and more widely ac- 
cepted toward the end of September. 
Since the overriding necessity was for a 
shortening of the lines of communication 

M Min, Mtg SHAEF War Room, 22 Sep 44, SHAEF 
SGS 381 Post-OvERLORD Planning. 

21 Ltr, Eisenhower to Montgomery, 24 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Post- Overlord Planning. 

22 Ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 14 Sep 44. 



and additional port capacity, the devel- 
opment of Antwerp offered the best pos- 
sible solution of the problem. The effect 
which the pursuit and the decisions of 
early September had on the logistic struc- 
ture was therefore momentous, for it 
rendered earlier plans largely obsolete 
by necessitating the shift of the main ad- 
ministrative base northeastward months 
earlier than had been anticipated. 

Logistic planners realized early that 
these developments would require a 
complete recasting of administrative 
plans. 23 Tactical operations had been 
supported all the way across northern 
France and Belgium without the Brittany 
ports, and with the front lines now 400 
to 500 miles distant, the value of these 
ports greatly diminished. By 9 Septem- 
ber the Supreme Commander had de- 
cided that Quiberon Bay and the ports 
of Lorient, St. Nazaire, and Nantes were 
no longer essential for the support of 
U.S. forces, and he informed the 12th 
Army Group commander that it would 
not be necessary to reduce these ports by 
force of arms, and that the enemy garri- 
sons might simply be contained. 24 At this 
time the capture of Brest still held the 
highest priority, but that port was also 
destined to be abandoned before long. 
Logistic planners, foreseeing this pos- 
sibility, suggested in the first days of 
September that U.S. port development 
resources be used to supplement British 
units in developing the ports north of 
the Seine. 25 

The speed with which the northern 
ports could be brought into operation 

zt Memo, Whipple for CAO, sub: Latest Log Devs, 
3 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 381 War Plans General I. 
24 Cbl FWD-14376, Eisenhower to CCS, 9 Sep 44. 
* 5 Memo, Whipple for CAO, 3 Sep 44. 

was to have an important bearing on the 
employment of Allied, and particularly 
U.S., forces. Estimates made late in Sep- 
tember indicated that Antwerp might 
not begin operating before 1 November. 
There was every prospect, therefore, that 
U.S. forces would have to depend on lines 
of communication reaching all the way 
back to Normandy, aided somewhat by 
the capacity of the Seine ports. As Gen- 
eral Bradley noted to the Third Army 
commander in explaining the reasons 
for the decisions of mid-September, the 
total tonnages which the Communica- 
tions Zone could guarantee to deliver 
were sufficient to support the attacks of 
only one of the American armies if all 
the other U.S. forces reverted to the de- 
fensive. Even such commitments required 
the postponement of many essential ad- 
ministrative measures, such as moving 
air units and replacements forward, 
building advance airfields, winterizing 
troops and equipment, and replacing 
worn-out equipment. 26 The priority 
now held by operations aimed at the 
Ruhr inevitably placed the burden of 
the sacrifice on the 12th Army Group 
forces operating south of the Ardennes— 
that is, the Third Army. 

Fortunately, it was possible to relieve 
the strain on the attenuated lines of the 
12 th Army Group somewhat by shifting 
a portion of the burden to the south. The 
6th Army Group, commanded by Lt. 
Gen. Jacob L. Devers and now embrac- 
ing all the forces which had built up in 
the southern lodgment, possessed an in- 

20 Ltr, Bradley to Patton, 23 Sep 44, 12 A Gp 
371.3 Mil Objectives I; Memo, Moses for Col 
William L. Barriger, sub: Confirmation of Tele- 
phone Conversation This Date, 9 Sep 44, 12 A Gp 
G— 4 Memos 1944, Folder 56. 



dependent line of communications. In 
the decisions which the Supreme Com- 
mander had just announced it was au- 
thorized to continue its operations north- 
ward into Alsace without restriction since 
its operations did not divert resources 
from the north. In fact, the southern line 
of communications possessed surplus ca- 
pacity, and measures had already been 
taken to divert through Marseille three 
divisions coming from the United States 
in October. 27 

General Eisenhower was most anxious 
to take advantage of the logistic poten- 
tialities of the southern line of commu- 
nications, and when General Devers re- 
ported at the 22 September meeting at 
SHAEF that the 6th Army Group could 
immediately maintain three additional 
divisions, the Supreme Commander 
promptly directed the 12 th Army Group 
to release the XV Corps, then operating 
under the Third Army and consisting 
of the 2d French Armored and 79th In- 
fantry Divisions, to the southern army 
group. Seventh Army accordingly took 
over the XV Corps, along with the sector 
it then occupied, before the end of the 
month. 28 A few days earlier another di- 
vision—the 7th Armored— was taken from 
the Third Army to strengthen the forces 
in the north. By these various actions, 
as General Eisenhower admitted, "things 
were being stretched thin in the mid- 
dle." 29 Additional measures taken to re- 
lieve the strain on the 12 th Army Group 
supply lines included diverting shipping 
lying off the Normandy beaches to Mar- 

27 See below, Ch X, Sec. 1. 

28 Min, Mtg SHAEF War Roofn, 22 Sep 44, and 
Ltr, Eisenhower to Montgomery, 24 Sep 44. 

^Ltr, Eisenhower to Montgomery, 24 Sep 44. 

seille and allotting to U.S. forces certain 
port capacity in excess of British needs 
at Le Havre. Preparations were also made 
to discharge LST's on the Pas-de-Calais 
beaches as an emergency measure. 30 

The decisions of mid-September thus 
reflect a full realization of the extent to 
which logistic limitations had come to 
straitjacket tactical plans. The Supreme 
Commander's directives on the 1 3th 
reveal a determination to maintain the 
offensive in accordance with earlier stra- 
tegic plans, but such plans now had to be 
tailored to severely restricted logistic 
capabilities. Any thought of carrying out 
a power thrust aimed at objectives deep 
inside Germany was definitely abandoned 
with the realization that any sustained 
drives would require a major orientation 
of the entire logistic structure— that is, a 
shift to shorter lines of communication 
based on the northern ports. 

(4) Prospects at the End of September 

Detailed studies of logistical capabili- 
ties made at both SHAEF and Headquar- 
ters, Communications Zone, toward the 
end of September confirmed the earlier 
doubts regarding the scale on which com- 
bat operations could be conducted in 
the near future. Their gloomy forecasts 
stemmed directly from the poor pros- 
pects with regard to port discharge and 
inland transportation. 

SHAEF planners had little hope that 
any material advantage would be gained 
from the use of ports in the low countries 
by early October, and predicted that 
both the 2 1 and 1 2th Army Groups would 

12 A Gp AAR, Sep 44. 



be operating on very extended lines of 
communication for some time to come. 
For administrative reasons, therefore, 
they concluded that it would be desir- 
able to withhold an advance into Ger- 
many beyond the Ruhr until late Octo- 
ber in order to permit the development 
of the Antwerp-Rotterdam port capacity 
and to ensure the establishment of se- 
cure advance bases near Antwerp for 2 1 
Army Group and in the region of Metz- 
Nancy for 12th Army Group. In con- 
sidering several alternative courses the 
planners estimated that it would be pos- 
sible to support " limited forces" in an 
advance in October, but only on the 
basis of conditions which were unlikely 
to be met: if infantry divisions were not 
motorized; if air supply were made avail- 
able to the extent of 2,000 tons per day 
or some thirty truck companies were 
withdrawn from quiescent divisions to 
assist in the forward movement of sup- 
plies; if opposition were slight; if for- 
ward reserves were accumulated at about 
half normal rates; if not more than 
twenty-five divisions were employed for- 
ward on the Rhine; and if objectives 
were reached within about a fortnight. 31 
At the end of the month the Commu- 
nications Zone, in response to an inquiry 
from the army group G-4, General 
Moses, presented figures on its delivery 
capabilities which revealed even more 
clearly the impossibility of supporting 
large-scale operations east of the Rhine. 
General Moses had indicated to Brig. 

31 SHAEF G-3 Appreciation, Factors Affecting Ad- 
vance into Germany After Occupation of the Ruhr, 
24 Sep 44, and Memo by Ping Stf, summarizing 
above, same date, SHAEF SGS 381 Post-OvERLORD 

Gen. James H. Stratton, the theater G-4, 
that the field forces should be able to 
count on daily maintenance at the rate 
of 650 tons per division slice. Added to 
the needs of the Ninth Air Force and the 
Advance Section, this brought the total 
maintenance requirements in the for- 
ward areas to 18,800 tons per day in the 
first half of October, assuming the em- 
ployment of 22 divisions, 20,750 tons per 
day in the second half of the month, 
with 25 divisions, and 22,700 tons by 
1 November, when the strength of the 
12th Army Group would reach 28 divi- 
sions. General Moses estimated, however, 
that the field forces would require the 
delivery of approximately 100,000 tons 
of supplies over and above these daily 
maintenance requirements in order to 
meet deficiencies in equipment and estab- 
lish minimum reserves of about three 
days in all classes of supply. He used 1 
November as a target date for the begin- 
ning of discharge operations at Antwerp. 
On the assumption that the daily main- 
tenance requirements could be met, he 
requested the Communications Zone to 
estimate the time necessary to deliver 
the additional 100,000 tons and also to 
establish depots in the Advance Sec- 
tion. 32 

The COMZ reply was discouraging 
indeed. General Stratton was even less 
optimistic about the prospects of quick 
dividends from the port of Antwerp. 
He did not believe that discharge there 
could be counted on before the middle 
of November, although he estimated that 

32 Memo, Moses for Stratton, sub: Supply Esti- 
mate, 25 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 400 Supplies General 
44 HI. 



some tonnage would begin to move for- 
ward from Le Havre and Rouen by mid- 
October and might average 3,000 tons 
per day in the last half of the month. On 
this basis he estimated that it would be 
approximately sixty days before any sub- 
stantial tonnages could be built up in the 
forward areas. In fact, he pointed out that 
for the entire month of October COMZ 
deliveries would not even meet daily 
maintenance requirements. 

The Communications Zone planned 
to build small reserves— totaling about 
1 1,000 tons— in the First Army area in the 
last two weeks of October, but this was 
to be accomplished only at the expense 
of falling short of the daily maintenance 
needs of the other armies. Delivery ca- 
pacity was expected to exceed daily needs 
by a few hundred tons early in Novem- 
ber, but the build-up of reserves was 
contemplated in only one area— the First 
Army's— and even then at the sacrifice 
of some of the Ninth Army's daily re- 
quirements. Less than 30,000 tons of re- 
serves were expected to be built up— all 
in the First Army area— by mid-Novem- 
ber. Not until then did the Communica- 
tions Zone expect its port and transporta- 
tion situation to improve sufficiently to 
begin building reserves over and above 
daily needs in the Third and Ninth Army 
areas and in the depots of the Ninth Air 
Force and the Advance Section. In the 
last two weeks of November it hoped 
to deliver approximately 100,000 tons of 
reserve supplies to the forward areas. 
These stocks it planned to set down in 
the Huy-Aachen area for the First Army, 
in the Longwy-Metz-Nancy area for 
Third and Ninth Armies, and initially 
at Reims for the Ninth Air Force. The 
Advance Section's dumps were to be 

distributed between the two army areas. 33 
The outlook for the next six to eight 
weeks was thus a depressing one. There 
appeared no escaping the prospect that 
the forces which the 12th Army Group 
could maintain actively operational 
would either have to be reduced in size 
or continue on the starvation scales which 
had characterized their support for the 
past several weeks. At the beginning of 
October the 12th Army Group comprised 
20 divisions (10 in First Army, 8 in 
Third, and 2 in Ninth). In addition, 
there were in the Cotentin and Brittany 
a total of 7 divisions, of which 1 was 
engaged in a tactical mission and the re- 
maining 6 were either grounded or in 
the process of marrying up with their 
equipment. By mid-October, it was esti- 
mated, 25 divisions could be made opera- 
tionally available to the 12 th Army 
Group. The army group commander 
naturally wanted to use the additional 
units becoming available, and General 
Bradley in fact indicated his intention 
of moving 6 divisions forward from the 
Cotentin between 10 and 20 October. 
Allowing for the transfer of 1 division 
(the 44th) to the 6th Army Group, this 
would result in a net increase of 5 divi- 
sions and raise the strength of the group 
to 25 divisions. 34 

G- 4 planners at SH AEF had estimated 
that the provision of daily maintenance 
for this number of divisions and the 
building of a reasonable minimum of re- 

33 Memo, Stratton for Moses, sub: Supply Esti- 
mate, 1 Oct 44, AD SEC AG 400 Supplies General, 
or SHAEF G-4 400 Supplies General 44 III. 

34 Memo, Col C. Ravenhill, Deputy Chief Log 
Plans, for G-4, 10 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 Mainte- 
nance of British and U.S. Forces 1 53/2 /GDP— 1, Box 
1, Folder 42. 



serves would require deliveries of more 
than 22,000 tons of supplies per day. 35 
The forwarding of such tonnages was 
obviously out of the question in view of 
the Communications Zone's announced 
capabilities. Deliveries in September had 
averaged only 8,000-10,000 tons per day, 
and the maximum tonnage which the 
Communications Zone estimated it might 
deliver in the last half of October was 
20,000. With this tonnage it was esti- 
mated that all twenty-five divisions could 
be maintained only if scales of main- 
tenance were kept below those consid- 
ered sound. The support of the 12th 
Army Group would therefore be on a 
hand-to-mouth basis and without the 
accumulation of any reserves. This was 
a risk that was unacceptable to supply 
officers in view of the imminence of win- 
ter weather (which would require the 
forward movement of substantial ton- 
nages of heavy clothing and winterization 
equipment), the need to build up bridg- 
ing equipment for the expected river 
crossing operations, the heavier require- 
ments for ammunition, and the accom- 
plishment of higher echelon repair of 
vehicles which had already been long 
delayed. On the basis of the COMZ esti- 
mates the SHAEF G-4 planners con- 
cluded that logistic limitations would 
not permit the employment of more than 
twenty divisions in the 1 2 th Army 
Group. Even this allowed the "mobile" 

33 On the basis of 560 tons of maintenance per 
division slice at regular scales, 280 tons of reserves 
build-up per day (one half day per day), totaling 
840 tons per division per day or 21,000 tons for the 
three armies. In addition, the army group would 
require civil affairs supplies, raising the total to 
more than 22,000 tons. SHAEF G-4 Allocation of 
Tonnages 1, for period 15-28 Oct, 8 Oct 44, SHAEF 
G-4 400 Supplies General 44 III. 

engagement of only two thirds of the 
total, and the accumulation of reserves 
for only the one army having first prior- 
ity for its effort— that is, First Army, 
with ten divisions. 36 

On 1 1 October SHAEF informed Gen- 
eral Bradley of this limitation on the 
size of the maintainable force, noting 
that his proposal to move additional divi- 
sions forward from Normandy conse- 
quently would be feasible only if a cor- 
responding number of divisions was 
withdrawn from the line and rested. 37 
Within the next ten days, nevertheless, 
additional units were moved forward 
and committed, bringing the line 
strength of the 12th Army Group to 
twenty-three divisions. 

Meanwhile, supply deliveries had ac- 
tually been sufficient to support only 
thirteen divisions adequately, to say noth- 
ing of maintaining the twenty on which 
recent plans had been based. 38 The pros- 
pect of providing adequate support to 
the growing number of divisions thus 
appeared even more dismal toward the 
end of October, providing abundant 
proof of the necessity for a strict ration- 
ing of the meager resources available. 
In the course of the month Supreme 
Headquarters therefore prepared to in- 

36 SHAEF 1 G-4 Allocation of Tonnages 1 for 
Period 15-28 Oct, 8 Oct 44, and covering Ltr, 
Whipple to Crawford, sub: Tonnage Allocations, 8 
Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 400 Supplies General 44 III; 
Memo, Whipple for G-3 Ping Stf, sub: Advance 
Across the Rhine, 14 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 381 War 
Plans General II. 

37 Cbl S-61798, SHAEF to Bradley, 11 Oct 44, 
SHAEF AG 381-3 SHAEF to AGWAR Reports on 

38 Memo, Whipple for G-3 Plans, sub: Mainte- 
nance of 12 A Gp Divs, 21 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 
Maintenance General, Box 1, Folder 47. 



stitute a detailed allocation of supplies, 
specifying the scale of maintenance and 
reserves build-up for each army and dis- 
tributing available tonnages to each army 
in line with the expected scale of activ- 
ity of its divisions, depending on the 
missions assigned. 

The full effect of the strain which the 
overextension of the lines of communi- 
cation had imposed on the logistic struc- 
ture now became apparent. It was also 
clear that the maintenance of large-scale 
operations would remain unsatisfactory 
until the port of Antwerp and adequate 
rail lines of communications were made 

available. The opening and development 
of that port consequently remained a 
matter of transcendent importance. 39 For 
the next few months the military opera- 
tions of the 21 and 12th Army Groups 
were to be dominated by the necessity 
to develop a new administrative base 
in closer proximity to the theater of 

^Cbl FWD-16181, Eisenhower to CCS, 29 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Post-Overlord Planning; Cbl S- 
64375, Eisenhower to Major Corads, 23 Oct 44, 
SHAEF AG 381-3 SHAEF to AGWAR Reports on 
Overlord; Memo, Whipple for G-3 Ping Stf, 14 
Oct 44. 


Tactical and Organizational 

(i) Tactical Operations 1 

Between September and February the 
theater's command and organizational 
structure, both tactical and administra- 
tive, took its final form. Allied tactical 
operations, meanwhile, were to contrast 
markedly with those of the pursuit pe- 
riod. Hampered by the lack of adequate 
logistic support, and faced with a reor- 
ganized and reinforced enemy, the Allied 
armies for the next several months either 
marked time or measured their gains in 
yards, at heavy cost in casualties and 
materiel. In one instance, the enemy's 
December counteroffensive, they sus- 
tained a severe setback. 

At no time was the impact of logistics 
on tactical operations more evident than 
in late September and October. Though 
SHAEF was able to marshal limited 
American logistical assistance for the big 
airborne operation in the Netherlands 

1 For detailed accounts of tactical operations dur- 
ing this period, see H. M. Cole, The Lorraine Cam- 
WAR II (Washington, 1950), and the following 
volumes in preparation for the series: H. M. Cole, 
The Ardennes Campaign; Charles B. MacDonald, 
The Siegfried Line Campaign; and James D. T. 
Hamilton and Robert Ross Smith, Southern France 
and Alsace. 

in support of the 21 Army Group (Op- 
eration Market-Garden), the diversion 
added to the supply famine in the 12th 
Army Group. The First Army, for exam- 
ple, pierced the Siegfried Line at Aachen 
but found a combination of inhospitable 
terrain, renewed German tenacity, and 
supply limitations too restrictiv e to per- 

mit exploitation of the breach. {Map 1) 

Artillery ammunition and replacement 
tanks were in particularly short supply. 
At the same time the Third Army, 
though establishing bridgeheads over 
the Moselle River near Metz and Nancy, 
felt a similar pinch. The commanders of 
these forces would have been more in- 
clined to accept the supply limitations 
with equanimity had the 2 1 Army 
Group, in the meantime, been able to 
exploit Operation Market-Garden to 
the extent projected. But the airborne 
operation and the concurrent ground 
advance in the north, designed to put the 
British across the major water obstacles 
of the eastern part of the Netherlands 
and into position for a thrust against the 
Ruhr, fell short of its objectives. 

By late September the full effect of 
the transportation and supply shortages 
was all too apparent. General Eisenhower 

13- V4 o, 2 v. 




had little choice but to concentrate al- 
most all available resources behind only 
one portion of the front lest his entire 
advance bog down. In keeping with orig- 
inal planning, he chose the north. The 
21 Army Group, while retaining its gen- 
eral objective of enveloping the Ruhr 
from the north, was at the same time to 
open the port of Antwerp as a matter of 
great urgency. The neighboring First 
Army could do little except conduct lim- 
ited operations in general support of the 
21 Army Group and in preparation for 
the day when the supply situation might 
improve and the push toward the Rhine 
be renewed. Operating on an axis of ad- 
vance which had been denied first prior- 
ity, the Third Army felt even more 
stringent supply restrictions than did 
the First. The only major achievement 
by either army during the logistically 
drab days of October was the First Army's 
reduction of Aachen. 

In the extreme north the commander 
of the 21 Army Group, Field Marshal 
Montgomery, tried at first to continue 
his push toward the Ruhr while his left 
wing, in the form of the First Canadian 
Army under Lt. Gen. H. D. G. Crerar, 
opened Antwerp. But even when 
strengthened by a temporary shift of 
some territory to the 12th Army Group, 
Montgomery found the dual assignment 
too demanding. The enemy's position 
along both sides of the Schelde estuary, 
which denied Allied access to Antwerp 
from the sea, proved particularly strong. 
Even after the 21 Army Group in mid- 
October turned undivided attention to 
opening Antwerp, almost a month of 
severe fighting under the most adverse 
conditions of weather and terrain re- 
mained before the approaches to the 

port were clear. Not until 28 November 
was the first Allied ship to drop anchor 
in the harbor. 

Meantime, on the extreme right flank 
of the western front, operations had as- 
sumed much the same character. After 
the link-up of Seventh Army with the 
12th Army Group in mid-September, the 
pursuit of the enemy from the south had 
halted for the same reasons it had in the 
north, despite the existence of a separate 
line of supply leading from Marseille. 
Almost coincidentally with the end of 
the pursuit, the southern forces, consist- 
ing of the Seventh U.S. Army and the 
First French Army, came under a new 
headquarters, the 6th Army Group. Until 
this time controlled by AFHQ in the 
Mediterranean, these forces now came 
under the direct command of General 
Eisenhower. 2 When directed by the Su- 
preme Commander to continue the drive 
toward the Rhine, the 6th Army Group 
tried to push northeastward through the 
Saverne and Belfort gaps, only to be 
forced to the unavoidable conclusion 
that, under the existing logistical situa- 
tion, this plan, like the plans in the 
north, was far too ambitious. 

The six weeks' fighting between mid- 
September and the end of October had 
brought little noticeable advantage to 
the Allies as far as the enemy, terrain, 
or weather was concerned. Meanwhile, 
the logistic situation, even without use 
of Antwerp, had shown some improve- 
ment. In the Supreme Commander's 
opinion, sufficient supplies had been ac- 
cumulated, when superimposed upon the 
promise of Antwerp, to warrant a re- 
sumption of the offensive along the en- 



tire front. This is not to say that all was 
well from a logistical standpoint— the 
U.S. armies, for example, still had to 
ration artillery ammunition drastically 
—but in keeping with the general prin- 
ciple of giving the enemy no rest, Gen- 
eral Eisenhower deemed a renewal of the 
attack advisable. 

Viewed in retrospect, the November 
plans, while aimed only at closing to the 
Rhine, were far too optimistic. The 12th 
Army Group, with twenty-seven divisions 
now available, planned major efforts both 
north and south of the Ardennes; the 
6th Army Group with fourteen divi- 
sions, taking advantage of the mainte- 
nance resources available from the Medi- 
terranean, was to advance to the Rhine 
while protecting the 12th Army Group's 
right flank. Only the 21 Army Group, 
still engaged in freeing the approaches 
to Antwerp, was to remain relatively 

The Third Army struck the first blow 
in the new offensive on 8 November, 
while on 13 and 14 November, respec- 
tively, the Seventh U.S. and First French 
Armies joined the assault. After await- 
ing favorable weather for a major air 
bombardment, the First Army and the 
newly formed Ninth U.S. Army under 
Lt. Gen. William S. Simpson took up the 
attack in the north. 

Adverse weather, which set new rain- 
f al 1 records, and terrain favoring the 
defender, plus a remarkable German re- 
surgence, militated more against the re- 
newed Allied drive than did logistics. 
Whatever the primary cause, the drive 
fell short. The Third Army and the 6th 
Army Group made the most impressive 
advances, including capture of Metz, ar- 
rival at tht Siegfried Line in front of 

the Saar industrial region, and, with the 
exception of a big enemy pocket hinged 
on the city of Colmar, reaching the 
Rhine along a broad front in the ex- 
treme south. In the north, the First and 
Ninth Armies by mid-December had 
gotten no farther than the little Roer 
River, less than fifteen miles beyond 
Aachen. The 21 Army Group, in the 
meantime, had begun to assist by attacks 
along the American left flank, but the 
necessity to clear a stubborn enemy force 
which held out in constricted terrain 
west of the Maas River still limited 
British participation. 

Mid-December thus found the Allied 
armies still attempting to close to the 
Rhine in execution of the first phase of 
the November offensive, when, on 16 
December, the enemy seized the initia- 
tive with a powerful counteroffensive in 
the Ardennes area of eastern Belgium 
and northern Luxembourg. Aimed at 
crossing the Meuse and recapturing Ant- 
werp, thereby splitting the Allied forces 
and possibly annihilating those north of 
the Ardennes, the offensive was launched 
with twenty-four divisions which the 
enemy had secretly marshaled. 

Attacking on a fifty-mile front in the 
center of the First U.S. Army's sector, 
the enemy struck in an area which had 
been lightly held throughout the fall 
in order that U.S. forces might concen- 
trate for offensive operations elsewhere. 
Though the Germans quickly broke 
through, tenacious resistance by isolated 
American units and quick reaction to 
the attack by Allied commanders halted 
the thrust short of its first objective, the 
Meuse River, The end result of the 
enemy's effort was a big bulge in the 
American line. Because Antwerp had 



begun operation as a port not quite three 
weeks before the enemy struck, the im- 
pact of the bulge on the U.S. logistical 
structure never became critical. Existence 
of the bulge nevertheless imposed cer- 
tain communications difficulties, which 
prompted the Supreme Commander to 
place the Ninth Army and those elements 
of the First Army north of the enemy 
salient under the operational control of 
Field Marshal Montgomery. 

On 23 December an attack by the 
Third U.S. Army established tenuous 
contact with a beleagured American gar- 
rison in the communications center of 
Bastogne, which had held out against re- 
peated German assaults. Three weeks 
later, on 16 January, drives by the First 
and Third U.S. Armies linked up at the 
road center of Houffalize. After severe 
fighting in the face of winter weather, 
rugged terrain, and skillful enemy de- 
fense, the two armies by the end of the 
first week of February had completely 
erased the enemy's earlier gains and in 
some sectors had followed the withdraw- 
ing Germans through the West Wall. 
The net effect of the German effort so 
far as the Allies were concerned was to 
delay Allied offensive operations toward 
the Ruhr and the Saar about six weeks. 

The first week of February also saw 
the enemy's holdout position on the ex- 
treme right flank of the Allied line 
around the city of Colmar eliminated, 
but not before the Germans had 
launched a smaller-scale counteroffensive 
in this sector. Though the attacks 
achieved some initial success and for a 
time threatened recapture of Strasbourg, 
adroit withdrawals followed by counter- 
attacks with strong reserves soon con- 
tained them all. On 20 January First 

French Army troops led an attack to 
drive the last Germans from the west 
bank of the Rhine in the 6th Army 
Group's sector. Joined later by a corps 
of the Seventh Army, on 9 February 
they achieved their goal. Thus by early 
February the entire western front was 
stabilized and the enemy's offensive ca- 
pabilities west of the Rhine were elimi- 

(2) Organization and Command 3 

While the command and administra- 
tive structure of ETOUSA never 
achieved complete finality because of 
the repeated necessity to adapt itself to 
the changing tactical situation, in August 
and September 1944 it took the final 
form envisaged in the Overlord plan. 

The first week in August had been an 
important one in the evolution of com- 
mand and organization in both the tac- 
tical and administrative fields. On the 
tactical side, a second army (the Third) 
was introduced on 1 August and an army 
group organization under the command 
of General Bradley was established. 4 On 
the administrative side, meanwhile, the 
implementation of the organizational 
plan had suddenly accelerated. On 2 
August, after several delays, the Com- 
munications Zone finally achieved legal 
status on the Continent by the drawing 
of a rear boundary for the armies. Con- 
trary to plan, the movement of Head- 
quarters, Communications Zone, was ad- 

3 As pointed out in the Preface to Logistical Sup- 
port I, the command and organizational develop- 
ments of the pursuit period and the command de- 
cisions of early fall 1944 are discussed here in order 
to adhere to the topical-chronological organization 
adopted for both volumes. 

4 Marking the inauguration of Phase III of the 
command plan, on D plus 56 instead of D plus 41 
as planned. See Logistical Support I, 2o8ff. 



vanced a full month. On 7 August Gen- 
eral Lee's headquarters itself took over 
operation of the continental Communi- 
cations Zone. Two entire phases in the 
Overlord command plan were th us 
virtually eliminated so far as the admin- 
istrative structure was concerned, for 
the Advance Section held a position in- 
dependent of the First Army as the 
operative communications zone on the 
Continent for only five days during the 
first week in August, and Forward Eche- 
lon, Communications Zone, did not be- 
come operational at all. 

The month of August nevertheless 
represented a transitional stage. Since 
the advance element of Supreme Head- 
quarters had not yet moved to the Con- 
tinent, 12th Army Group was to remain 
under the over-all command of 2 1 Army 
Group for the next month, and for a 
period of three weeks General Bradley, 
as the senior U.S. field force commander, 
continued to exercise supervision over 
the development of the Communications 
Zone, as he had as commanding general 
of First Army. In this capacity he re- 
tained the authority to prescribe levels 
of supply in the Communications Zone 
and army depots, assign priorities for 
supply, and regulate the apportionment 
of service troops between the armies and 
the Communications Zone. The 12th 
Army Group commander had always de- 
sired such an arrangement, for it was 
his belief that the senior field force com- 
mander should also control his line of 
communications, as in British practice. 

This situation prevailed until the 
end of August, when the final stage of 
the command setup was ushered in by 
the arrival of Supreme Headquarters. 
SHAEF began moving to the Continent 

in mid-August. On 1 September it as- 
sumed operational control of all forces, 
bringing the 12th Army Group under its 
direct control, and placing the Com- 
munications Zone directly under the 
command of General Eisenhower as 
theater commander. The Communica- 
tions Zone thereby attained a position at 
least co-ordinate with the 12th Army 
Group. Unfortunately the effect of this 
development was to perpetuate the fric- 
tion between the Communications Zone 
and the field forces which had developed 
over General Lee's position in the 
United Kingdom, for Lee's headquarters 
continued to exercise some of the inde- 
pendence and authority of a theater 
headquarters by virtue of the presence 
there of the theater's general and special 
staff divisions. 5 

While command relationships were 
relatively final by 1 September, the grad- 
ual accession of additional forces neces- 
sarily changed the organizational com- 
plexion of the theater somewhat. Early 
in September the 12th Army Group was 
strengthened by the addition of a third 
army— the Ninth, under the command of 
General Simpson. Ninth Army head- 
quarters had been formed from the 
Fourth Army headquarters at San An- 
tonio, Texas, and had started its move- 
ment to the United Kingdom in April 
1944- 6 Its first duties in the theater were 
to receive and train various units arriv- 

5 [Robert W. Coakley] Organization and Com- 
mand in the ETO, Pt. II of the Administrative and 
Logistical History of the ETO, Hist Div USFET, 
1946, MS (hereafter cited as Organization and Com- 
mand) II, 153-59- 

w The new headquarters came to the United 
Kingdom as the Eighth Army, but was redesignated 
the Ninth Army in May to avoid confusion with 
the British Eighth Army. 



ing in England, and it was not expected 
to move to the Continent until the port 
of Brest was in operation. Late in 
August, however, Ninth Army head- 
quarters moved to France and was as- 
signed to the 12th Army Group, and on 
5 September was given command of the 
VIII Corps in the Operations against 
Brest. Headquarters were established in 
close proximity to those of Brittany Base 
Section, which had been set up at 
Rennes, in order to provide the neces- 
sary communications facilities and to 
facilitate co-ordination with the Com- 
munications Zone in matters of supply 
and maintenance. In addition to its 
operational mission the Ninth Army was 
given the task of administering the re- 
ception and accommodation of the var- 
ious corps and divisions then arriving in 
Normandy. After the capture of Brest it 
redeployed northeastward and eventually 
participated in the November offensive, 
as already related. 7 

In the meantime another type of army 
had been organized to co-ordinate and 
control Allied airborne operations. Early 
in August SHAEF created a British-U.S. 
combined airborne headquarters for this 
purpose, and in mid-August designated 
this organization the First Allied Air- 
borne Army and placed it under the 
command of Lt. Gen. Lewis H. Brere- 
ton, who had been Commanding Gen- 
eral, Ninth Air Force. For command and 
administrative purposes the U.S. com- 
ponents of this new army were organized 
into the XVIII U.S. Airborne Corps 
under the command of Maj. Gen. 
Matthew B. Ridgway, former Command- 
ing General, 8sd Airborne Division. 

With certain exceptions the operational 
control of the First Allied Airborne 
Army remained with Supreme Head- 
quarters. 8 

The most significant augmentation of 
the tactical command structure occurred 
in mid-September with the incorpora- 
tion of the Allied forces in southern 
France, shortly after SHAEF assumed 
direct operational control on the Con- 
tinent. Operation Dragoon had long 
been intended as a corollary to Over- 
lord and had been planned to be 
launched simultaneously with the land- 
ings in Normandy. But the necessity to 
transfer some of the Mediterranean 
troop lift to the United Kingdom for 
Overlord led to the postponement of 
the operation. The final decision to 
launch the southern operation was not 
made until i o August i 944, and the 
actual assault was made five days later. 

Dragoon was mounted from the 
North African theater, and consequently 
came under the direction of the Supreme 
Commander in that area, General Sir 
Henry Maitland Wilson. Make-up of the 
assault force was to be predominantly 
American, and the operational control 
in the early stages was given to the 
Seventh U.S. Army, which was reacti- 
vated for this purpose and placed under 
the command of Lt. Gen. Alexander M. 
Patch. A French army command was to 
come into being as soon as the build-up 
of French forces was large enough to 
justify it. General Jean de Lattre de 
Tassigny was to be in command of the 
first French troops to go ashore, the in- 
tention being that he should eventually 
command the French army. 

7 Organization and Command, II, 162-67. 

*Ibid., II, 168-70. 



In anticipation of the time when there 
would be two armies in the south, pro- 
vision was also made for the organiza- 
tion of an army group command. On 1 
August the 6th Army Group was acti- 
vated at Bastia, Corsica, under the com- 
mand of General Devers, who at the 
time was commanding general of the 
North African theater and Deputy Su- 
preme Commander under General Wil- 
son. Since the army group command was 
not to become operational until such 
time as two armies were in existence, an 
Advance Detachment, AFHQ, was or- 
ganized to exercise over-all control in 
the first stages. This forward echelon of 
General Wilson's headquarters, also 
commanded by General Devers, was 
actually composed of basically the same 
personnel which made up the 6th Army 
Group headquarters, thus providing the 
desired continuity in command. 

Operation Dragoon was a striking 
success, and within two weeks of its 
launching General Wilson contemplated 
the transfer of control of the southern 
France forces, to SHAEF, the intention 
being that 6th Army Group would be- 
come operational at the same time. The 
size of the force under General Devers* 
command at the time (nine divisions) 
hardly justified the latter step, but Gen- 
eral Wilson felt it was required by both 
the nature of operations with French 
forces and the length of the lines of com- 
munication, and negotiations were there- 
fore undertaken to effect the transition. 
Tactical developments and the absence 
of essential communications facilities 
actually delayed the transfer of command 
somewhat. But the time finally appeared 
ripe after the junction of French forces 
from the south with elements of the 

Third U.S. Army near Sombernon on 
n September, and it was agreed that 
SHAEF should take over operational 
control of the southern forces on 15 
September. On that date the control of 
AFHQ over the Dragoon forces came to 
an end. 

At the same time French Army B, 
which had become operational on 21 
August, was redesignated as the First 
French Army, and the 6th Army Group, 
now consisting of the French First and 
Seventh U.S. Armies, became opera- 
tional, absorbing Advance Detachment, 
AFHQ. 9 The XII Tactical Air Com- 
mand, which supported the Dragoon 
forces, also passed from the control of 
the North African theater to the Ninth 
Air Force in the north. 

Planning and launching Dragoon had 
entailed two territorial revisions in the 
North African and European theaters. 
Southern France had been included in 
the European theater in 1943. Because 
Dragoon was to be launched from Med- 
iterranean bases, the War Department 
redrew the theater boundaries in Feb- 
ruary 1944, removing southern France, 
plus Switzerland, Austria, and Hungary, 
from the European theater, and placing 
them within the North African theater. 
On 18 September, after SHAEF had as- 
sumed control over the southern forces, 
the boundaries of the European theater 
were once more extended to includ e all 
of France and Switzerland. (Map 2) 10 

One more major addition to the U.S. 
tactical command structure occurred 

9 General Devers was subsequently relieved of his 
other assignments in the Mediterranean, Lt. Gen. 
Joseph T. McNarney becoming Commanding Gen- 
eral, NATOUSA, and Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark the 
Deputy Supreme Commander. 

10 Organization and Command, II, 223-32. 



late in 1944. On 27 December the Fif- 
teenth Army was activated and assigned 
to the 12th Army Group. Fifteenth 
Army at first consisted only of a head- 
quarters, and its functions initially were 
purely administrative. Its first responsi- 
bility was to serve as a headquarters for 
the control of U.S. units in the SHAEF 
reserve, a task it began to perform early 
in January 1945. Shortly thereafter it 
was given responsibility for staging, 
equipping, and training new units enter- 
ing the Continent, for the reorganiza- 

tion and re-equipping of units returning 
from the combat zone, and for planning 
the occupation, particularly in the 12 th 
Army Group sector of the Rhineland. 
The command of the army went tem- 
porarily to Maj. Gen. Ray E. Porter, 
but on 14 January passed to Maj. Gen. 
Leonard T. Gerow, former commander 
of the V Corps. 11 

In the meantime the logistic structure 
of U.S. forces on the Continent had 

n Ibid., II, 261-64. 



undergone its logical development, its 
evolution being governed largely by the 
rate at which ground was recaptured. 
The movement of Lt. Gen. John C. H. 
Lee's headquarters alone was a process 
which took several weeks and was not 
completed until mid-September. A por- 
tion of the COMZ headquarters re- 
mained in England for some time. The 
base section organization developed over 
a period of some months, according to 

The core of the COMZ headquarters 
merged with the Forward Echelon near 
Valognes, where engineers constructed 
new tented quarters for approximately 
1 1,000 persons and about 560,000 square 
feet of hutted office accommodations. 12 
But its location there was destined to be 
of short duration. Within a matter of 
days the capture of Paris appeared im- 
minent, and General Lee contemplated 
an early move to that city. 

The order for the move to Paris was 
actually issued by Brig. Gen. Royal B. 
Lord, and without Lee's knowledge. 13 
On 1 September the Chief of Staff dis- 
patched a forward echelon to Paris, and 
within the next two weeks the entire 
headquarters moved to the French cap- 
ital, a portion of it going there directly 
from London, and the remainder from 
Valognes. Using precious motor and air 
transportation at the very time of the 
critical supply shortages at the front, the 
movement naturally produced strong 
criticism from combat commanders. In 
the view of Lt. Gen. Walter B, Smith, 

12 Final Report of the Chief Engineer, European 
Theater of Operations, 1942-45 (Paris, Herve et 
Fils [c. 1946], prepared in Office of Chief Engr 
ETO, 1946, p. 326. 

"Interv with Lord, 9 Aug 51, and Col Talley, 7 
Mar 51. 

the SHAEF Chief of Staff, the premature 
move was also largely responsible for the 
delays and difficulties in communications 
with the War Department which caused 
much embarrassment in September. 
SHAEF depended on the Communica- 
tions Zone for such communications, and 
the movement made it impossible to ex- 
tend reliable long-range communications 
from the rear. 14 

General Eisenhower himself disap- 
proved of the move to Paris, and on 13 
September sharply reproved the COMZ 
commander, notifying Lee that his head- 
quarters was not to be located there. 15 
The Supreme Commander modified this 
order a few days later, realizing that the 
heavy shipments of personnel and sup- 
plies to the French capital made it im- 
possible to shift the COMZ headquarters 
for the present without interfering with 
higher priority tasks. Paris, after all, was 
the logical location for the headquarters 
of the theater's administrative organiza- 
tion, for it contained a concentration of 
supply depots, hospitals, airstrips and 
airfields, railway stations and marshaling 
yards, and inland waterway offloading 
points which were vitally important to 
the supply structure of the theater. 

General Eisenhower nevertheless con- 
sidered the movement of General Lee's 
headquarters extremely precipitate and 
believed the influx of Americans into 
Paris to be unwise. He was obviously 
disturbed over the reports he had re- 
ceived about the blackmarket activities 
of U.S. personnel in Paris, and in his 
second communication to General Lee 

14 Cbl FWD-iCigK, Smith to Lt Gen Thomas 
T. Handy, 29 Sep 44, OPD Cbl Files. 

15 Cbl FWD-14637, Eisenhower to Lee, 13 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 014a Civil Affairs in Paris I. 



made pointed reference to reports that 
the dress, discipline, and conduct of 
Americans in the French capital were 
"little short of disgraceful." While the 
Supreme Commander now authorized 
the COMZ headquarters to remain in 
Paris, he directed General Lee to stop 
immediately the entry into that city of 
all personnel not needed there for essen- 
tial duty, and to institute a survey at 
once of the units already located there 
with a view toward removing all whose 
presence was not absolutely required. 
One of the main purposes of the reduc- 
tion was the desire to use Paris primarily 
as a leave center. 16 

Efforts to break the "Paris fever" 
which had seized Americans of all ranks 
did not meet with spectacular success. 
On 20 October General Smith met with 
SHAEF and COMZ staff officers to re- 
emphasize the Supreme Commander's 
policy on movements to the French cap- 
ital and to discuss ways of transferring 
additional units without detriment to 
the war effort. Some units had already 
moved outside the city, but the number 
of new requests for accommodation 
within Paris more than made up for the 
removals. The fact that about 90 per- 
cent of the hotels in Paris had been 
taken over by the Americans produced 
an unfortunate public reaction and gave 
rise to comments that Allied demands in 
several respects exceeded those of the 
Germans. The COMZ headquarters 
alone occupied 167 hotels, the Seine 
Base Section headquarters another 129, 

IG Cbl FWD-15033, Eisenhower to Lee, SHAEF 
SGS 400.3/1 Supply Problems of Allied Advance; 
Memo, Col Allen Sibley to Maj Gen Robert W. 
Crawford, ia Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 014.1 Civil Affairs 
in Paris I. 

and other organizations such as SHAEF, 
the Office of Strategic Services, the U.S. 
Navy, and the Air Transport Command 
were using approximately 25 more. The 
Seine Section and Communications Zone 
at this time estimated that between them 
they could release approximately 150 
hotels, but the extent to which this was 
carried out is not known. 17 

These efforts to keep to a minimum 
the number of U.S. troops in Paris did 
nothing to reverse the decision by which 
that city became the permanent head- 
quarters of the Communications Zone. 
In September General Lee's head- 
quarters quickly became the nerve cen- 
ter of the theater's administrative ac- 

Meanwhile the Communications 
Zone's territorial organization also made 
progress. As outlined elsewhere the 
Overlord planners had contemplated 
the establishment of a sectional or- 
ganization on the Continent and before 
D Day had actually activated Base Sec- 
tions No. 1 and No. 2, intended for 
operations in Brittany and Normandy, 
respectively. 18 In addition, they had 
tentatively formed Base Section No. 3 
for use as an intermediate section be- 
tween the Advance Section and the base 
sections. Like other plans, the scheme 
for the sectional organization was based 
on a forecast of tactical operations. Since 
these did not proceed as expected, the 
planned organization underwent con- 
siderable change. 

Early in July plans still called for 
Base Sections No. 1 and No. 2 to develop 
the Brittany and Cotentin Peninsulas. 

"Conf Min, Hq ETO, 20 Oct 44, EUCOM 337 
General Conferences 44 II. 
18 See Logistical Support I, 216-18. 



Base Section No. 3 was now tentatively 
assigned the area of the Seine ports. In 
addition, an intermediate section and a 
Paris section were contemplated, the 
former to take over the area from Le 
Mans to Reims, the latter to take over 
the administration of the headquarters 
command in Paris. Personnel for the ad- 
ditional sections was to come from the 
U.K. sections, which were to be dis- 
banded generally in accordance with the 
Reverse Bolero process, and the United 
Kingdom organized into a single U.K. 

Developments in July began to bring 
about important alterations in the mis- 
sions of some of the sections. Early in 
the month the Advance Section decided 
to subdivide its territory into area com- 
mands. On 11 July it organized the port 
of Cherbourg as Area No, I under the 
command of Col. Cleland C. Sibley, com- 
mander of the 4th Major Port. A few 
days later the Advance Section set up 
the rest of its territory as Area No. II. 
Confined for an unexpectedly long 
period to the Normandy beachhead area, 
Brig. Gen. Ewart G. Plank's organiza- 
tion was now handling a heavy load on 
the Continent, acting in the capacity of 
both an advance and a base section. The 
creation of area commands was obviously 
an attempt to decentralize some of its 
activities, particularly the specialized 
functions of a major port which was to 
begin operating within the next few 

As it turned out, the organization of 
area commands was the first step in the 
creation of a new base section. On 21 
July the Advance Section took another 
step in this direction, redesignating Area 

No. I the Cherbourg Command (Pro- 
visional) and placing it under Col. 
Theodore Wyman, formerly a district 
commander in Western Base Section. 
The Cherbourg Command remained 
under the control of the Advance Sec- 
tion, but Colonel Wyman was given 
most of the powers of a base section com- 
mander, and within the next few days 
his organization was reinforced with 
officers drawn from the provisional Base 
Section No. 3 in the United Kingdom. 

These developments soon raised the 
question as to whether the Cherbourg 
Command might not take over the mis- 
sion originally assigned to Base Section 
No. 2— i.e., operations in Normandy. 
The position of Base Section No. 2 con- 
sequently became more and more uncer- 
tain, and in the last two weeks of July 
its movement to the Continent was twice 
scheduled and twice postponed. The de- 
cision not to use Base Section No. 2 for 
the purpose originally intended finally 
came as the result of a tour of inspec- 
tion which General Lord, the COMZ 
Chief of Staff, made of that area toward, 
the end of July. Satisfied with the prog- 
ress of operations at Cherbourg, Gen- 
eral Lord concluded that it would be 
inadvisable to impose another head- 
quarters to supervise a job already well 
under way. He proposed rather that 
Colonel Wyman's organization be built 
up and that it be allowed progressively 
to take over additional activities as the 
Advance Section could relinquish con- 
trol over them, the idea being that the 
Cherbourg Command should eventually 
expand in size to include the beaches as 
well as the port of Cherbourg, and that 
Colonel Wyman should become the base 



section commander in that area. General 
Plank concurred in this view. 19 

By 1 August it was definitely decided, 
therefore, that the Cherbourg Command 
would be the forerunner of a full-fledged 
base section. For this purpose it was now 
to be reinforced by the bulk of the Base 
Section No. 3 headquarters. The transi- 
tion was very rapid. On 7 August, the 
same day on which Headquarters, Com- 
munications Zone, opened on the Con- 
tinent, the area around Cherbourg was 
detached from Advance Section and be- 
came operational as the Cherbourg Base 
Section. In the succeeding weeks its re- 
sponsibilities were increased rapidly by 
the turning over of additional territory 
in the vicinity of the beaches and by the 
release of supply dumps by Advance Sec- 
tion in the beach area. On 16 August 
Colonel Wyman's command was finally 
redesignated Normandy Base Section. By 
this time it was rapidly assuming the 
enormous task of handling the reception, 
staging, and dispatch of troops and sup- 
plies coming in over the beaches and 
through the minor ports and Cher- 
bourg. 20 

The creation of a base section organi- 
zation in the Cotentin on 7 August 
brought to realization the situation vis- 
ualized in the Overlord plans whereby 
the Advance Section and a second COMZ 
section should become contiguous. 21 Un- 
til that time progress in the development 
of the continental organization had been 
retarded. With the advent of the COMZ 
headquarters proper on the Continent 
early in August, and with the sudden 

19 Ltr, Lord to Plank, 25 Jul 44, and Plank's re- 
ply, 28 Jul 44, EUCOM 381/2 War Plans General. 

20 Organization and Command, II, 178-87. 
31 See Logistical Support 1, 208. 

increase in size of the lodgment which 
followed the breakout from Normandy, 
this process accelerated noticeably. 

The next area to be organized was 
Brittany. Base Section No. 1 had already 
arrived off Utah Beach on 3 August 
and in accordance with its planned mis- 
sion immediately proceeded to the vicin- 
ity of Rennes to assume the task of sup- 
porting the Third Army in Brittany and 
developing that area. An amendment in 
plans now took place, however, to per- 
mit the employment of Base Section No. 
2 in the Brittany Peninsula also. The 
expansion of the Cherbourg Command 
into a base section had left Base Section 
No. 2 without a mission, and it was now 
decided to divide the responsibilities in 
Brittany between Base Sections No. 1 
and No. 2, leaving to the former the task 
of developing the Quiberon Bay area 
and supporting the Third Army in Brit- 
tany, and holding the latter in reserve 
for use in developing the port of Brest 
when it was captured. 

Base Section No. 1 became operational 
on 16 August, redesignated as Brittany 
Base Section, thus giving the Communi- 
cations Zone two full-fledged base sec- 
tions in an operational status on the 
Continent, one operating in the rear of 
the Advance Section in Normandy and 
the other in the rear of the VIII Corps 
in Brittany. The plan to use Base Sec- 
tion No. 2 at Brest proved abortive in 
view of the disappointing turn of events 
at that port, and Brittany Base Section 
eventually took control of all Brittany, 
as originally intended. The mission of 
Brig. Gen. Leroy P. Collins' Base Sec- 
tion No. 2 consequently had to be 
changed once more. On 5 September it 
was finally activated as the Loire Base 



Section, with headquarters at Le Mans. 
Loire Base Section embraced an area ap- 
proximately 130 miles long extending 
from Laval to Orleans, and assumed the 
role of an intermediate section, largely 
in the support of Third Army. 22 

Several days earlier the capture of 
Paris had hastened the activation of a 
section to organize the administration of 
Paris and its environs. The Communica- 
tions Zone had an organization tailor- 
made for this task in Base Section No. 5, 
the provisional headquarters organized 
under the command of Brig. Gen. Pleas 
B. Rogers, the perennial headquarters 
commandant of the London area. The 
new section was officially activated as 
Seine Base Section on 24 August. Within 
the next few days General Rogers was 
in Paris urgently requesting the dispatch 
of the remainder of his headquarters 
and, above all, an MP battalion. 

Seine Section's mission initially in- 
cluded only the administration of metro- 
politan Paris and did not include respon- 
sibility for the operation of line-of-com- 
munications depots. Its principal tasks 
at first were the administration of civil 
relief, the rehabilitation of the city inso- 
far as was necessary to aid in military 
operations, and preparation for the re- 
ception of the COMZ and SHAEF head- 
quarters. Within the next few weeks 
Seine Section's area of responsibility was 
enlarged somewhat by the transfer of 
additional territory from Advance Sec- 
tion. At the same time Seine Section's 
activities were greatly expanded, for in 
taking over the COMZ installations, such 
as depots, in this area, it began to per- 
form the more normal functions of a 
COMZ section, in addition to admin- 

22 Organization and Command, II, 184-89. 

istering a large headquarters and leave 
center. 23 

The rapid activation of sections on 
the Continent in August was accom- 
panied by the liquidation of the U.K. 
establishment. By mid-August plans were 
complete for the consolidation of the 
base sections in the United Kingdom 
into a single U.K. base, the old base sec- 
tions becoming districts of the new com- 
mand. Late in June Brig. Gen. Harry B. 
Vaughan, Jr., had been relieved of his 
job as Forward Deputy Commander of 
the Communications Zone in anticipa- 
tion of his assignment as the commander 
of the new base. In August the entire 
liquidation process was speeded up, and, 
as planned, Western Base Section be- 
came Western District in the new U.K. 
Base Section, Southern Base Section be- 
came Southern District, and Central 
Base Section became the London Dis- 
trict. 24 

General Vaughn took command of the 
newly activated U.K. Base on 1 Septem- 
ber. By that time the old headquarters 
had been largely stripped of their per- 
sonnel to form the new continental sec- 
tions, and their commanders were given 
new assignments. In this way Col. Roy 
W. Grower of Eastern Base Section had 
become the commander of Base Section 
No. 1 (Brittany), General Rogers of 
Central Base Section had become com- 
mander of the Seine Section (Paris), and 
General Collins of Northern Ireland 
Base Section had organized Base Sec- 
tion No. 2, which in a few days was to 
be activated as the Loire Section. Col. 

23 Ibid., II, 191-94. 

21 Eastern Base Section had been deactivated at 
the end of April and absorbed by Western Base 
Section as District VIII. 



Fenton S. Jacobs of Western Base Sec- 
tion had initiated planning for Base 
Section No. 3 (intended as an inter- 
mediate section) and Brig. Gen. Charles 
O. Thrasher of Southern Base Section 
was tentatively scheduled to be the dep- 
uty commander of the new U.K. Base. 25 

In September plans called for the 
creation of two additional sections to 
complete the continental COMZ or- 
ganization. One of these was to be the 
Oise Section, which was scheduled to 
take over the area east of Paris as ter- 
ritory was relinquished by the Advance 
Section; the other was to be Channel 
Base Section, scheduled to develop the 
Le Havre-Rouen area. Both sections 
were activated and began operations in 
September, although the assignment of 
their respective missions was attended 
by some confusion. 

It will be recalled that originally 
Colonel Jacobs had tentatively been 
given command of Base Section No. 3 
and a planning mission for the Con- 
tinent. Early in August the transfer of 
the bulk of his headquarters to Cher- 
bourg to build up Colonel Wyman's 
organization had left Colonel Jacobs 
without a command. Later in the month 
another headquarters, known as Base 
Section No. 4, was constituted with 
Colonel Jacobs in command, and tagged 
as an intermediate section. On 3 Septem- 
ber this headquarters was officially re- 
designated Oise Section and opened at 

A week later Channel Base Section 
was activated under the command of 
General Thrasher, who was given this 
assignment rather than that of deputy 
commander of the U.K. Base. Before 

25 Organization and Command, II, 86-92, 190-91. 

either Oise or Channel could actually 
become operational, however, it was de- 
cided to switch their missions because 
Colonel Jacobs' organization was con- 
sidered better qualified by reason of its 
personnel and experience for port de- 
velopment and operation. Consequently 
on 15 September the original Oise Sec- 
tion was redesignated Channel Base Sec- 
tion, under the command of Colonel 
Jacobs, and Channel Base Section was 
renamed Oise and placed under the com- 
mand of General Thrasher. 26 

Neither of the two newly activated 
sections was immediately assigned area 
responsibility. Channel Base Section 
presented a special problem because it 
was to operate ports lying in British ter- 
ritory, north of the boundary between 
the 21 and 12th Army Groups. Its opera- 
tions thus required crossing British lines 
of communication and violated the prin- 
ciple established by the Overlord 
planners that U.S. and British lines of 
communication should be kept com- 
pletely separate. The resulting situation 
paralleled closely the relationship be- 
tween British and American forces at 
ports in the United Kingdom, and 
naturally called for close co-operation. 
Early in October Channel Base Section 
was given control of Le Havre and the 
immediate vicinity except for civil affairs 
functions, thus becoming a small en- 
clave within British-controlled territory. 
U.S. activities in the British territory- 
transportation, for example— were han- 

2G At the same time an exchange of engineer sec* 
tions was made between Colonel Jacobs' head- 
quarters and Brittany Base Section. The latter's 
engineer staff had prepared specifically for the de- 
velopment of Brest, and the decision not to develop 
that port left this staff without a mission to match 
its ability. 



died by Normandy Base Section west of 
the Seine and by Channel Base Section 
east of that river. 

Oise Section's development, mean- 
while, was somewhat arrested, and not 
strictly in keeping with original inten- 
tions. The drawing of boundaries and 
the assignment of a definite territory to 
General Thrasher's headquarters proved 
infeasible at first because of the lack of 
troops to carry out area responsibilities. 
For the first weeks, therefore, Oise Sec- 
tion functioned in territory actually as- 
signed to the Advance Section. Com- 
munications Zone redrew the latter's 
boundaries early in October, and Oise 
at that time assumed area control of the 
territory between the Advance Section 
and Seine Section. Its domain subse- 
quently grew several times as the changes 
in Advance Section's boundaries con- 
formed with the forward movement of 
the armies. The bad logistic situation in 
the fall meanwhile made it impossible 
for Oise Section to develop into a true 
intermediate section as intended. Almost 
all supplies forwarded in September and 
October were immediately consumed, 
with the result that few intermediate 
depots could be established. Conse- 
quently Oise Section's functions were 
limited mainly to rail and road mainte- 
nance and the supply of units stationed 
within its own borders. 27 

By mid-October, with three base sec- 
tions, three intermediate sections, and 
one advance section in operation, the 
Communications Zone's administrative 
organization in support of the 12th Army 
Group was relatively complete, although 
there were to be consolidations and 
boundary changes to meet changing 

" Organization and Command, II, 194-202. 

needs and the shifting tactical situation. 
The territorial organization had de- 
veloped only roughly as intended, but 
plans had proved sufficiently flexible to 
permit the necessary adaptations. Activa- 
tion and phasing in of the various con- 
tinental section headquarters had lagged 
at first, and had then accelerated in con- 
formance with the sudden change in 
pace of tactical operations. 

The principal changes in plans had 
stemmed from the fact that the main line 
of communications had developed not 
from Brittany as expected, but from 
Cherbourg and the beaches, which as- 
sumed an inordinately greater impor- 
tance than anticipated. This had resulted 
first in the growth of a base section or- 
ganization in the Cotentin in a manner 
not contemplated, and second, in the de- 
velopment of only relatively minor ac- 
tivity in Brittany and along the lines of 
communications extending eastward 

The small scale of activity in the Brit- 
tany area eventually led logically to the 
disbandment of both the Loire and Brit- 
tany sections. The first step was taken on 
1 December, when Brittany Base Section 
absorbed Loire Section as a district. 
Even this consolidation left the Brittany 
Base Section with only limited responsi- 
bilities, which hardly warranted the 
maintenance of a separate base section 
headquarters. On 1 February 1945 Brit- 
tany Base Section was in turn absorbed 
by Normandy Base Section as a district. 
At this time Normandy also expanded 
eastward, taking over territory from 
Channel Base Section north of the Seine 
to the new boundary between the 2 1 and 
12th Army Groups. This gave Normandy 
Base Section control over an area ex- 



tending all the way from Brest to Dieppe, 
including responsibility for the opera- 
tion of the ports of Le Havre and 
Rouen. 28 

Channel Base Section's main preoc- 
cupation, meanwhile, had become han- 
dling U.S. activities at Antwerp, which 
finally opened at the end of November, 
and operating U.S. supply lines to the 
Advance Section. At Antwerp, as at Le 
Havre and Rouen. Channel Base Sec- 
tion operated within British territory, 
but to the south of the U.S.-British 
boundary Channel Base Section was 
given responsibility in southern Belgium 
extending forward to the ADSEC rear 
boundary. (Map 3) 

In the course or these consolidations 
and repeated boundary changes, com- 
mand in the base sections remained rel- 
atively stable. The only important 
changes occurred in Normandy Base Sec- 
tion, where dissatisfaction with the de- 
velopment of Cherbourg's capacity led 
to the relief of Colonel Wyman at the 
end of October 1944. He was succeeded 
by Maj. Gen. Lucius D. Clay, who came 
to the theater on temporary loan from 
the ASF. In mid-December General 
Clay was in turn succeeded by Maj. Gen. 
Henry S. Aurand, who also came from 
an assignment in the ASF. Except for 
these changes, command in the base sec- 
tions was stable, all the commanders 
having had similar assignments in the 
United Kingdom. 29 

In some respects the development of 
the communications zone in southern 

M Within Normandy Base' Section the British re- 
tained a small enclave in the area of their D-Day 

29 Organization and Command, II, 265-70. 

France was simpler than in the north. 
There was no question there of the de- 
velopment of alternate port areas or 
bases, since there was but one line of 
communications possible, leading di- 
rectly northward from Marseille up the 
valley of the Rhone. The major or- 
ganizational problem in the south was 
the integration of its logistic structure 
with that in the north. This integration 
did not occur simultaneously with 
SHAEF's assumption of operational con- 
trol of the 6th Army Group. It was 
gradual, and it was effected only after a 
long transitional period, during which 
the southern forces continued to main- 
tain close ties with the North African 
theater in matters concerning their sup- 

Logistic planning for both French and 
U.S. forces in the Dragoon operation 
had been done by the SOS, North 
African Theater of Operations, com- 
manded by Maj. Gen. Thomas B. 
Larkin, whose headquarters was with 
AFHQ at Caserta, Italy. After the land- 
ing in southern France the communica- 
tions zone there had developed very 
much as it had in the north. In the early 
stages an organization known as Coastal 
Base Section (COSBASE), similar to the 
Advance Section in the north, was at- 
tached to the Seventh U.S. Army and 
charged with the initial development of 
the communications zone. Coastal Base 
Section had been activated early in July 
1944 at Naples under the command of 
Maj. Gen. Arthur R. Wilson. It accom- 
panied the Seventh Army on the land- 
ings, and for the first three weeks con- 
cerned itself mainly with the operation 
of the beaches. On 10 September an 
army rear boundary was drawn, and 

F. Temple 

MAP 3 



Maj. Gen. Arthur R. Wilson, Com- 
manding General, Continental Ad- 
vance Section. 

COSBASE, redesignated Continental 
Base Section (CONBASE), assumed area 
responsibility for the territory to the rear 

As in the north, the period during 
which CONBASE was the operative 
communications zone in southern France 
was short. The early capture of Marseille 
and the increasing length of the lines of 
communications soon necessitated that 
CONBASE be freed of its base section 
duties to move forward in support of the 
6th Army Group. On 1 October, there- 
fore, a new organization, known as Delta 
Base Section, was formed under the com- 
mand of Brig, Gen. John P. Ratay to 
take over the operation of Marseille and 
other installations in the base area. 

CONBASE was now given its final 
designation of Continental Advance Sec- 
tion (CONAD), in keeping with its role 
as an advance section moving forward in 
direct support of the 6th Army Group, 
the same role which the Advance Sec- 
tion in the north performed for the 12th 
Army Group. 

In order to exercise effective control 
over the two sections which were now 
operating in the southern lodgment 
AFHQ decided shortly thereafter to dis- 
patch an advance echelon of the COMZ 
headquarters in Caserta to southern 
France. Such an advance echelon, under 
the command of Brig. Gen. Morris W. 
Gilland, moved to southern France; and 
by the end of October was operating the 
communications zone there from head- 
quarters at Dijon under the general di- 
rection of General Larkin's headquarters 
in Italy. 30 

The problem of incorporating the 
southern France administrative structure 
into ETOUSA had been under discus- 
sion for some weeks. ETOUSA appeared 
anxious to extend its administrative con- 
trol over the southern forces as soon as 
possible, for it expected that problems 
would soon arise on such matters as rail- 
ways, civil affairs, labor, and procure- 
ment, in which there should be a uni- 
form policy. Such problems would be- 
come more and more difficult to co- 
ordinate through AFHQ once the 6th 
Army Group forces joined with those of 
the 12th Army Group. Furthermore, it 
was thought that important economies 
might result from pooling logistic re- 
sources once the road and rail communi- 
cations of the two forces were joined. 



On the other hand, it was also desir- 
able that the Communications Zone 
have sufficient time to make all arrange- 
ments to take over the requisitioning 
and shipping schedules from the SOS, 
North African theater. SHAEF planners 
believed the supply responsibility prob- 
ably could not be transferred until most 
supplies were coming directly from the 
United States. 31 A major consideration 
in postponing the transfer of responsibil- 
ity was the fact that a substantial reserve 
of supplies existed in the North African 
theater in excess of those required for 
the support of other American forces 
there, and it was felt that the southern 
France forces should be supplied through 
that theater at least as long as this situ- 
ation obtained. 32 

Representatives of the North African 
theater, AFHQ, 6th Army Group, and 
COMZ-ETOUSA discussed the entire 
problem at a conference on 29 Septem- 
ber. COMZ-ETO again urged the earli- 
est possible absorption of the southern 
system—by 1 November at the latest— 
arguing that this was necessary in order 
to achieve a balance in supplies in the 
whole theater. The SHAEF staff favored 
leaving the southern line of communica- 
tions separate for the time being, how- 
ever, thus utilizing to the full the capa- 
bilities of the supply organization in the 
Mediterranean during the period when 
the full operating capabilities of COMZ- 

31 Ltr, Whipple to G-4, Transfer of Adm Respon- 
sibility, Dragoon Forces, 1 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 381 
Anvil 44 I. 

32 Cbl FX-91666, Wilson to SHAEF, 4 Sep 44, 
SHAEF AG 381-3 SHAEF to AGWAR Reports on 
Overlord; Cbl FWD-14276, SHAEF to CCS, 6 Sep 
44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post-OvERLORD Planning. 

Brig. Gen. John P. Ratay, Com- 
manding General, Delta Base Section. 

ETO were required to support the 12th 
Army Group. SHAEF officials believed 
this could best be accomplished under 
the existing setup, for General Larkin's 
organization could more easily draw per- 
sonnel and supplies from the Mediter- 
ranean as long as it was part of the 
North African theater. Serving the 
southern France organization put it in 
the position of drawing on another 

The conference at the end of Septem- 
ber produced no immediate decision, 
but the problem continued under re- 
view. Within the next few weeks a com- 
promise solution was worked out by 
which it was decided to place the 
southern communications zone under 
the ETO for "administration," but to 



leave the responsibility for logistic sup- 
port with the North African theater. 33 
This arrangement took effect on 1 No- 
vember, on which date all NATOUSA 
units in the southern lodgment were re- 
assigned to ETO USA, the latter at this 
time assuming responsibility in all 
purely administrative matters such as 
personnel (including replacements), fi- 
nance, and other matters handled 
through the adjutant general, provost 
marshal general, judge advocate general, 
and inspector general. SHAEF at this 
time assumed responsibility in civil af- 
fairs matters. 

By this arrangement it was contem- 
plated that logistic support would re- 
main the responsibility of the North 
African theater for an indefinite period. 
Late in October, however, before the 
above agreement actually went into 
effect, the scheme was further modified 
to permit the transfer of control in logis- 
tic matters to the ETO within the next 
few weeks. To facilitate this transfer a 
special vehicle was created, known as 
Southern Line of Communications, or 
SOLOC. SOLOC was to be a subcom- 
mand of the Communications Zone, 
ETO, interposed between General Lee's 
headquarters and the two southern sec- 
tions. But it was to retain the right to 
communicate directly with the North 
African theater on matters concerning 
personnel and shipping from the Med- 
iterranean. The granting of such au- 
thority thus met some of the SHAEF ob- 

M Conf f Hq NATOUSA, sub: Transfer of Adm 
and Supply Coincidental to the Change of Theater 
Boundary, 27 Sep 44, and Aide Memoire by Lee, 30 
Sep 44, ETO 381/200 Transfer . . .; SHAEF Memo, 
sub: Policy on Transfer of Adm Responsibility for 
Dragoon Forces, 8 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 Diversion 
of Service Troops, Dragoon, Box 1, Folder 51. 

jections to the immediate absorption 
of the southern logistic structure by 
COMZ-ETO. General Larkin became 
the commander of the new organization, 
and was also named Deputy Commander 
of the Communications Zone, ETO. 
Early in November he moved his 
main headquarters from Caserta, Italy, 
to Dijon, France, where the advance 
echelon of Communications Zone, Med- 
iterranean Theater of Operations 
(MTOUSA), was already operating the 
communications zone in southern 
France. 34 

In effect, the advance echelon of 
COMZ-MTOUSA became SOLOC, and 
since General Larkin was able to bring 
most of his headquarters staff with him 
to southern France, the new headquar- 
ters was simply a continuation of the 
parent headquarters at Caserta. When 
SOLOC became operational on 20 No- 
vember, therefore, COMZ-ETO took 
over a relatively intact and operating 
supply organization from COMZ- 

The actual integration of the supply 
system of the southern armies and sup- 
porting air forces into the Communica- 
tions Zone, ETO, was not accomplished 
without difficulties. These arose not only 
from the necessity of SOLOC to adjust 
itself to the standing operating pro- 
cedures of the ETO, which in some re- 
spects differed from those in the Mediter- 
ranean, but also from the rather unusual 
position which SOLOC held as a quasi- 
independent and intermediate command 
between Headquarters, Communications 

31 North African Theater (NATOUSA) was re- 
designated Mediterranean Theater of Operations 
(MTOUSA) in October. 

n5 Organization and Command, II, 235-40. 



Zone, on the one hand and CONAD and 
Delta Base Section on the other. 

In his letter of instructions to the 
SOLOC commander, General Lee had 
specified that General Larkin, as Deputy 
Commander of the Communications 
Zone and as his representative on the 
ground, was to represent the COMZ com- 
mander in all dealings with the southern 
forces. Direct communication with SOS, 
MTOUSA, was authorized on all matters 
affecting Mediterranean shipping, and 
General Larkin was also permitted to 
call on the COMZ staff sections for any 
aid he might require in discharging his 
duties. Conversely, members of Head- 
quarters, Communications Zone, were 
forbidden to communicate with the 
southern sections except through the 
SOLOC headquarters. 

In order to avoid upsetting existing 
supply arrangements, General Lee an- 
nounced that current programs for the 
phasing in of supplies, personnel, and 
equipment from the Mediterranean and 
the United States would remain in effect, 
subject only to adjustment directed by 
Headquarters, Communications Zone, 
after consultation with SOLOC, and 
that any extension of the program would 
also be made only after such consulta- 

While the implementation of the di- 
rective generally proceeded smoothly, 
nevertheless it was attended by certain 
difficulties and required adjustments and 
adaptations. Disagreements arose, for ex- 
ample, as to the limits of SOLOC's juris- 
diction and as to the role it was to have 
in the operations of the next higher and 
lower echelons of command. The Com- 
munications Zone, it appears, tended to 
treat SOLOC as a less independent com- 

Maj. Gen. Thomas B. Larkin, Com- 
manding General, Southern Line of 
Communications, and Deputy Com- 
mander of the Communications Zone, 

mand than SHAEF intended it to be. 
The principal complaints arose over the 
Communications Zone's close scrutiny of 
SOLOC's requisitions. The COMZ staff, 
it was charged, made demands for requi- 
sitions in much greater detail than was 
actually needed, delayed the forward- 
ing of requisitions to the New York 
Port, and in some cases exceeded its au- 
thority in determining what SOLOC 
could request. General Larkin con- 
sidered these practices unwarranted in 
view of the responsibility he himself 
avowedly possessed for editing the requi- 
sitions which he forwarded. 

Difficulties arose within SOLOC itself, 
resulting in part from misunderstanding 



over its rather special status as a separate 
command, and from the supervision 
which it exercised over the operations of 
CONAD. Some of SOLOC's own staff 
officers tended to overlook their organi- 
zation's separate command status and 
had to be cautioned against encouraging 
higher echelons to correspond directly 
with subordinate commands, and vice 
versa. General Wilson, commander of 
CONAD, had opposed the organiza- 
tional changes by which his organization 
had become purely an advance section 
and been deprived of control over the 
base area. He had proposed, without 
success, that the activities of the two sec- 
tions in support of the 6th Army Group 
be co-ordinated by his own command, 
which, he argued, was in a better posi- 
tion than any other headquarters to 
anticipate and meet the requirements of 
combat troops. CONAD found it dif- 
ficult to adjust to the new situation and 
complained about SOLOC's close super- 

It is likely that such a complaint 
against supervision from above would 
have been made even if there had been 
no intermediate command such as 
SOLOC. Quite understandably, the Ad- 
vance Section in the north had reacted 
in the same way initially, resenting the 
loss of control over certain activities in 
the territory it relinquished to the base 
sections. Nevertheless, the activities in 
the advance and base sections were di- 
vided in both the north and south, and 
in the latter area the supervision over 
communications zone operations was ex- 
ercised by SOLOC. This took the form 
mainly of editing CONAD's requisitions 
and arranging with Delta Base Section 
for shipment of supplies northward, but 

also of closely scrutinizing the opera- 
tions of both sections. CONAD oc- 
casionally protested the orders of its 
superior headquarters, claiming "inter- 
ference," as for example when SOLOC, 
concerned over the wasteful use of trans- 
port facilities, stepped in to direct 
CONAD to obtain prior approval be- 
fore sending its motor transport outside 
its own territory. But General Larkin re- 
garded it fully within his authority and 
responsibility to exercise such super- 
vision in the interest of the most ef- 
ficient use of resources along the entire 
southern line of communications. 

SOLOC's continued ties with the 
Mediterranean theater were also a source 
of some confusion, arising mainly from 
the situation whereby shipping was han- 
dled through the Mediterranean and 
requisitions through ETOUSA. A heavy 
flow of both troops and supplies from 
the United States in November created 
considerable difficulties along the south- 
ern line. They led General Larkin to re- 
port that the New York Port and the 
War Department were apparently con- 
fused as to SOLOC's position, for they 
were continuing to ship all supplies in 
bulk to the Mediterranean, including 
those not only for Italy but also for 
southern France, which was now under 
another theater's jurisdiction. General 
Larkin desired that shipping for the 
southern forces be set up for ETOUSA 
and then allocated to SOLOC as neces- 

Such problems were eventually ironed 
out, but they pointed up the difficulties 
attending the transition of control from 
one theater to another, as well as the dif- 
ficulty of employing an intermediate 
headquarters to effect such a transfer. 



By early 1945 the integration of the 
southern supply system had progressed 
sufficiently to render SOLOC superflu- 
ous. SOLOC had served a useful pur- 
pose in facilitating the transfer of sup- 
ply functions from MTOUSA to 
ETOUSA, but in the view of the 6th 
Army Group its continued existence 
contributed to the slowness of pro- 
cedure involved in going through so 
many headquarters. 36 Pressure to abolish 
the organization consequently increased, 
and on 6 February 1945 SOLOC was 
finally dissolved, CONAD and Delta 
Base Section then coming directly under 
the command of General Lee's COMZ 
headquarters in Paris. 

By February, then, the continental 
Communications Zone consisted of three 
base, two intermediate, and two advance 
sections. In the north the Advance Sec- 
tion operated in direct support of the 
First and Third Armies in the 1 2 th Army 

36 Cbl BX-23473, 6 A Gp to SHAEF, 26 Jan 45, 
SHAEF SGS 400.3/1 Supply Problems of Allied Ad- 

Group and of the Ninth U.S. Army in 2 1 
Army Group. In the south CONAD per- 
formed the same function for the 6th 
Army Group. The Advance Section for 
the most part drew its support directly 
from the Normandy and Channel Base 
Sections, which controlled the entire 
coastal area and operated the ports. 
Similarly in the south Delta Base Sec- 
tion organized the base area and operated 
the port of Marseille. Besides these base 
and advance organizations two sections 
operated in the north, Oise Section con- 
trolling transportation facilities in the 
forwarding of supplies from the base to 
the advance section, and Seine Section 
concerning itself mainly with the ad- 
ministration of the headquarters in and 
around Paris. The U.K. Base, mean- 
while, was also a part of the Communi- 
cations Zone, feeding supplies and per- 
sonnel from the United Kingdom and 
handling certain residual administra- 
tive functions there for SHAEF and 

37 Organization and Command II, 203, 241-48. 


The Port Discharge and 
Shipping Problems 

(/) The Port Problem as Affected 
by the Pursuit 

In the course of the endless calcula- 
tions involved in the logistic planning 
for Overlord, an exasperated staff offi- 
cer summed up his frustrations over the 
port problem in a parody of the invasion 
plan known as "Operation Overboard/' 
"The general principle," he wrote, "is 
that the number of divisions required to 
capture the number of ports required 
to maintain those divisions is always 
greater than the number of divisions 
those ports can maintain.' 7 

Logistic planners had ample reason 
to suspect that this statement contained 
an element of truth. From the start, port 
discharge capacity had been the major 
single cause for concern in the planning 
of Overlord. Logistic planners had pre- 
dicted a deficit beginning at D plus 
120, even assuming that operations pro- 
ceeded as scheduled. In this matter, cer- 
tainly, they were not excessively conserv- 
ative, for their fears were to be largely 
realized. In the search for adequate port 
discharge capacity in the summer and 
fall of 1944 they eventually gave con- 
sideration to approximately thirty-five 
French and Belgian ports and beaches. 

In July the port discharge problem ap- 
peared to constitute the very root of fu- 
ture supply difficulties. 1 Plans had pro- 
vided that by the end of that month 
U.S. forces should be supported in part 
through Cherbourg and the Normandy 
beaches and minor ports, and in part 
through St. Malo and Quiberon Bay in 
Brittany. At the time of the breakout 
late in July, however, Cherbourg had 
been in operation only a few days, nearly 
90 percent of all U.S. supply support 
was still coming in via the beaches, and 
the total U.S. discharge on the Continent 
averaged only 20,000 to 25,000 tons per 
day as against previously estimated re- 
quirements of about 30,000. 

The deficiency had not been imme- 
diately serious because requirements 
had not been as large as predicted. But 
weather was expected to close out the 
beaches in late September, and the delay 
in capturing the Brittany ports was al- 
ready a fact. An even more serious defi- 
cit therefore loomed ahead than was 
originally predicted. Before the end of 
July, the planners had already taken 
steps to compensate for this expected loss 

1 See Logistical Support I, 463ft. 



by projecting an increase in the capacity 
of Cherbourg and the minor Normandy 
ports and by seeking a larger allotment 
of coasters so that small ports could be 
used to fuller advantage. They also con- 
sidered opening the smaller Brittany 
ports, which had not seriously entered 
into the original plans. 

Nothing had happened thus far to 
alter the previous conviction that both 
Brest and Quiberon Bay were absolutely 
essential for the support of American 
forces. While doubts had already arisen 
as to the feasibility of developing Qui- 
beron Bay, mainly because of the tow- 
ing problem in the fall, it was still ex- 
pected at the end of July that the Brit- 
tany area would be developed as orig- 
inally intended. 

The effect which the pursuit was to 
have on the port discharge problem was 
not immediately apparent. In the first 
half of August neither SHAEF nor 
COMZ planners contemplated major 
changes in port development plans. The 
Communications Zone reaffirmed its in- 
tention of pushing the Quiberon Bay 
project vigorously. It also advocated dou- 
bling the planned capacity of Brest and, 
in addition, opening the Loire ports 
(Nantes and St. Nazaire) as soon as re- 
sources permitted. 2 

In the last two weeks of August con- 
fidence that Brest and Quiberon Bay 
could be relied on to meet U.S. port 
needs finally began to wane. The con- 
tinued delay in the capture of the main 
Brittany ports, coupled with the knowl- 

2 Ltr, Deputy G-4 Mov and Tn Br G-4 SHAEF 
to CAO, 11 Aug 44, App. 5 of Mov and Tn Study, 
sub: Mulberry, Aug 44, SHAEF G-4 War Diary/ 
Jnl; Ltr, Hq COMZ to SAC, sub: Port Capacities, 
10 Aug 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers, Wharves, 
Docks, and Berths 1944, III. 

edge that bad weather would soon ren- 
der the beaches unusable, prompted lo- 
gistic planners to resume the search for 
alternate port discharge capacity to meet 
at least the interim requirements until 
the major Brittany ports could be 
opened. The capture of Le Havre and 
Rouen did not yet appear imminent. 
Consequently attention once again 
turned to the smaller Brittany ports, 
which had received only sporadic con- 
sideration in the past. On 25 August the 
Communications Zone decided to go 
ahead with the development of Morlaix, 
St. Brieuc, St. Malo, and Cancale, and 
at the same time issued instructions to 
the base section commander to develop 
the port of Granville on the west Nor- 
mandy coast. A target of 20,000 tons total 
capacity was set for the five ports, three 
of which were scheduled to meet their 
goals within the next ten days. 3 

The decision to open these minor 
ports hardly dispelled the growing anxi- 
ety over the port situation. Meeting port 
discharge requirements was not a simple 
matter of adding up the total capacity 
of every little inlet along the coast and 
balancing this against the total tonnages 
it was desired to import. Port capacity 
not only had to be adequate in quantity 
but of the kind suitable for handling 
various types of shipping and cargo. On 
paper the Allies had sufficient port ca- 
pacity to handle all the imports scheduled 
for the next few weeks. But they were 
actually very short of capacity of the type 
suitable to handle the unloading of such 
commodities as coal, boxed vehicles, and 
heavy lifts. In the first two or three 
months of operations this was not a 

3 G-4 History, I, 43; 12 A Gp Tn Sec Jnl, 2 Sep 



major problem. All vehicles, for exam- 
ple, were brought across the Channel 
assembled in MT ships, 4 LST's, or 
LCT's. This was possible because the 
stowage factor on so short a voyage was 
relatively unimportant, the vital thing 
being to achieve the fastest possible turn- 
around. Beginning in September, how- 
ever, a larger and larger portion of U.S. 
supplies was scheduled to come directly 
from the United States, loaded so as to re- 
duce broken stowage to a minimum and 
thus use space more economically. Such a 
schedule meant that practically every 
Liberty ship coming from the United 
States would contain either boxed vehi- 
cles or other heavy lifts. 

Naturally it was desirable that such 
awkward loads be discharged at ports 
where suitable shore cranes were avail- 
able. In August the only port in Allied 
hands which possessed facilities even 
partially adapted to handling such cargo 
was Cherbourg, and it was obvious that 
that port lacked sufficient capacity to 
handle all the shipping coming directly 
from the United States. In fact, proposals 
to handle heavy troop movements 
through Cherbourg (again because of 
Brest's unavailability) already threatened 
to cut into the limited cargo-handling 
capacity of that port. It was inevitable 
that some boxed vehicles and other awk- 
ward loads would have to be received at 
the beaches and minor ports, where the 
handling of such cargo would be 
extremely difficult. 5 But eventually the 

4 Liberties outfitted to handle motor transport. 

"Memo, Capt N. H. Vissering, Mov and Tn Br 
G-4 SHAEF, for Whipple, sub: Comments on Stf 
Study 13, 12 Aug 44, SHAEF G-3 381 War Plans 
General; Shipping Note for CAO, 26 Aug 44, SHAEF 
G-4 Mov and Tn Br War Diary/Jnl. 

major portion of U.S. port discharge re- 
quirements could be met only through 
the development of the larger deepwater 
ports. The capture of such facilities had 
already been delayed, and anxiety in- 
creased at the end of August as to the 
condition in which ports such as Brest 
and Lorient would be found if and 
when they were finally captured. 6 

Tactical developments within the next 
week radically altered the entire outlook 
on the port situation, and eventually led 
to a recasting of the entire port develop- 
ment program. On 4 September British 
forces captured the great port of Antwerp 
with most of its facilities intact. On 12 
September the stubbornly defended and 
badly damaged port of Le Havre, 225 
miles to the rear, also fell to British 
troops. Rouen had been occupied on 30 

Preinvasion planning had accepted it 
as essential from the logistic point of 
view that both Le Havre and Rouen 
should be captured and used. In fact, it 
contemplated that a crossing of the lower 
Seine and seizure of these ports would 
be the first operation attempted after the 
capture of the lodgment area. The pur- 
pose in seizing the Seine ports, however, 
was not to serve U.S. needs, but to re- 
lieve the British forces from dependence 
on the beaches. U.S. lines of communica- 
tion were to be based on Cherbourg and 
Brittany. It was not until much later 
that the transfer of Le Havre to the 
Americans was contemplated. 7 

The delay in capturing Brest and the 

6 Shipping Note for CAO, 26 Aug 44. 

7 SHAEF Ping Study, sub: Post-NEPTUNE Course 
of Action After Capture of the Lodgment Area, 
Sec. II, 30 May 44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post-OvERLORD 



unexpected early seizure of both the 
Seine ports and Antwerp changed all 
this. The advantages which these ports 
offered over those of Brittany were ob- 
vious, and logistic planners had turned 
their attention to them as a possible solu- 
tion of the discharge problem as soon 
as their capture appeared probable. On 
3 September Col. William Whipple 
noted that it would be unprofitable for 
U.S. forces to devote their resources to 
the development of the geographically 
remote Brittany ports if the Seine ports, 
which were 200 miles farther forward on 
the line of communications, could be 
developed instead. Every 5,000 tons dis- 
charged at Le Havre rather than the 
South Brittany ports, he observed, would 
save an equivalent of seventy truck com- 
panies. 8 

Antwerp had still greater advantages, 
even when compared with the Cher- 
bourg line of communications. It was 
only 65 miles from Liege, while Cher- 
bourg was more than 400 miles from that 
advance depot area. Even Nancy, the 
forward depot area on the Third Army 
line of communications, was only 250 
miles by rail from Antwerp, but more 
than 400 miles from Cherbourg. The 
matter of rail lines was particularly im- 
portant because the rail capacity from 
Cherbourg and the beaches was only 
about 10,000 tons per day as against a 
discharge rate of 20,000, with the result 
that motor transportation bore a heavy 
transportation burden at great cost to 
equipment. In terms of the forces sup- 
portable it was estimated that only 21 
divisions could be provided with daily 
maintenance on the Cherbourg route 

(6 of them by motor transport), while 
54 could be similarly supported via the 
northern line of communications (all of 
them by rail). In effect, therefore, the 
effort required to support a division via 
Antwerp would be only one third that 
required to transport a division via Cher- 
bourg. Contrasted with both the Brit- 
tany and Normandy areas, moreover, 
Antwerp was virtually undamaged and 
possessed unmatched cargo-handling fa- 
cilities. 9 

For a moment, at least, the capture of 
Antwerp dissipated the darkest cloud on 
the logistical horizon, thus contributing 
to the otherwise unbounded optimism of 
these early September days. Logistic 
planners at COMZ headquarters were 
so encouraged that they were ready to 
abandon not only the Brittany ports, but 
the Seine ports as well, and advocated 
concentrating all efforts on the Belgian 
and Dutch ports. The condition of Brest 
(which had not yet been captured), they 
argued, did not warrant development for 
cargo discharge, and the long rail haul 
would place a serious strain on the trans- 
portation system. Except in emergency, 
the value of the smaller ports did not 
justify the expenditure of manpower 
and equipment to develop their rela- 
tively small capacity. Le Havre, they ob- 
served, was badly damaged, and its de- 
velopment to major capacity could not 
be accomplished for the period in which 
its use was required. Weighing these dis- 
advantages against the realization that 
the Belgian and Dutch ports had more 
than ample capacity for both British and 
American forces, COMZ officials decided 
to place a bid with SHAEF for alloca- 

8 Memo, Whipple for CAO, sub: Port Dev, 3 Sep 
44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers, . . . 1944, III. 

9 G-4 History, I, 47-48. 



tion of a portion of the Antwerp fa- 
cilities. 10 

The initial enthusiasm for a complete 
shift to Antwerp as the answer to port 
discharge needs was soon tempered by 
more sober realization concerning both 
the speed with which the new port ca 
pacity might become available and the 
current plight of the Allied forces. The 
Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief, Ex- 
peditionary Force, immediately gave 
warning that both Antwerp and Rotter- 
dam were highly vulnerable to blocking 
and mining, and that if the enemy was 
successful in these operations no estimate 
could be made of the time it would take 
to open these ports. 11 The Allies needed 
additional capacity immediately; the pur- 
suit was at its height, and maintenance 
of the armies was stretched to the limit. 
All transportation was fully committed, 
and port clearance was already largely 
sacrificed for the sake of line-of-commu- 
nications hauling. Meanwhile port dis- 
charge had shown no improvement, 
averaging only 25,000 tons per day. "Al- 
together," Lt. Gen. Sir Humfrey M. 
Gale, the chief administrative officer of 
SHAEF, concluded, "the administrative 
situation remained grim/' 12 

Logistic officers at SHAEF, conse- 
quently, did not share the view that 
Antwerp would immediately meet all 
the Allies' needs for port discharge, al- 
though they agreed that at least some 
of the Brittany projects could be can- 

10 Daily Jnl, G-4 Plans Br COMZ, 10 Sep 44, ETO 
Adm G-4 145C. 

"Cbl, ANCXF to SHAEF, 3 Sep 44, SHAEF AG 
323.3-2 Captured Ports, 

12 Mil Shipments Priority Mtgs, 2 and 9 Sep 44, 
SHAEF AG 337-18 Mil Shipments Priority Mtgs; 
Shipping Note for CAO, 9 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 500 
Transportation General 1944, II. 

celed. As early as 3 September the Lo- 
gistical Plans Branch had recommended 
that the South Brittany ports be aban- 
doned. 13 On the 7th SHAEF announced 
that neither Nantes, St. Nazaire, nor 
Lorient would be developed, and also 
decided finally that the much-debated 
Quiberon Bay project would be aban- 
doned. 14 

While attention thus definitely shifted 
from Brittany, no final decisions had yet 
been made regarding either Brest or the 
ports which had just been uncovered. 
In view of the great changes which tacti- 
cal developments had brought about, ne- 
cessitating a recasting of port plans, Gen- 
eral Lee on 14 September summarized 
the entire port situation for the Supreme 
Commander and offered his recommen- 
dations for meeting future requirements. 
General Lee's analysis led him to con- 
clude that the development of Brest as 
well as the other western ports to the 
tonnages originally planned was no 
longer sound. Le Havre, he noted, was 
reported to be seriously damaged, mak- 
ing it unlikely that large tonnage capac- 
ity could be developed there in the near 
future. In his opinion, moreover, its lo- 
cation did not materially shorten the 
lines of communication. He believed it 
advisable, therefore, to carry out only 
a limited development of Le Havre as 
an interim port with a capacity of be- 
tween 8,000 and 10,000 tons per day, 
and to do this as rapidly as possible with 
a minimum expenditure of reconstruc- 
tion effort. 

General Lee voiced the now generally 
accepted opinion that the bulk of Allied 

13 SHAEF G-4 War Diary/Jnl, 3 Sep 44. 
u Cbl FWD-14066, SCAEF to 12 A Gp, 7 Sep 44, 
SHAEF AG 323.3-3 Port Capacities. 



port requirements would eventually be 
provided by the north coast ports of 
Antwerp, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam. 
Their capacity, it was agreed, was more 
than sufficient to meet both British and 
ILS. needs, and, because of their loca- 
tion, would also alleviate the desperate 
transportation problem. Lee therefore 
recommended that port development be 
limited to Cherbourg, Le Havre, and the 
north coast ports. Even Cherbourg, he 
advised, should not be developed beyond 
the 2 0,000- ton capacity it was expected 
to achieve by early October because of 
the heavy demands on both rail and 
motor transport which the use of that 
port entailed. 15 

Supreme headquarters concurred in 
these recommendations with one excep- 
tion. It was not yet ready to abandon 
Brest in view of the need for reception 
facilities to handle the accelerated flow 
of divisions. Furthermore, the condition 
of the port was unknown even at this 
time, for it was still in enemy hands. 
SHAEF for the moment therefore di- 
rected that Brest should be developed 
to the extent needed to receive troops 
and their organizational equipment, and 
left to General Lee's discretion which 
of the smaller ports should be kept 
open. 10 

On 27 September the COMZ com- 
mander outlined these decisions to his 
staff and section commanders: In the 
Normandy area Cherbourg was to con- 
tinue as the major point of intake and 

15 Ltr, Lee to SAC, 14 Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 800 
Harbors, Opening, Use, Construction; see also G-4 
COMZ Plans and Communications Diary/Jnl, 18 
Sep 44, ETO Adm 145C. 

lfl Ltr, SHAEF to Lee, sub: Alloc of Ports, 19 Sep 
44, SHAEF SGS 323-3 Ports- Allocation and De- 

was planned to receive the maximum 
tonnage in both cargo and POL which 
it could handle pending the availability 
of Antwerp. Grandcamp-les-Bains was to 
be closed, but the other minor ports 
of Normandy— Barfleur, St. Vaast-la- 
Hougue, and Isigny— were to continue 
working on second priority for coasters 
until Antwerp developed a satisfactory 
discharge, and Port-en-Bessin was to con- 
tinue the intake of POL. The beaches 
were to continue to operate at maxi- 
mum capacity, although discharge was 
expected to drop to 10,000 tons per day 
at Omaha and 4,000 tons at Utah in 
October. The extent to which Brest was 
to be utilized was still undetermined 
and was to be decided after its capture 
on the basis of a survey by representa- 
tives of Brittany Base Section, the Navy, 
the chief engineer, and chief of trans- 
portation. St. Brieuc and Granville were 
to continue their development for the 
reception of coal. Morlaix was to develop 
its maximum unloading capacity from 
Liberty anchorage, but in a reversal of 
the plans made late in August both St. 
Malo and Cancale were now eliminated 
and actually never operated on U.S. 
account. The Seine ports were still 
thought of as providing only interim re- 
lief, with Le Havre scheduled to de- 
velop a capacity of about 8,500 tons and 
Rouen 3,000. Plans for the north coast 
area were of necessity somewhat less spe- 
cific, but they were made at this time to 
share the use of Ostend with the British 
for the import of POL, to survey both 
Calais and Boulogne with a view to as- 
signing one or both to U.S. forces, and 
to reconnoiter the coast northeast of Le 
Havre for suitable beaches at which 
LST's might be offloaded. 



The most important project of all 
was the development of Antwerp as the 
major joint U.S. British port on the 
Continent. 17 Antwerp was now almost 
universally looked upon as the early 
solution to the most fundamental logis- 
tic problem facing the Allies. It was con- 
templated that there should be a gradual 
closing down of activity in the ports 
farther to the rear as Antwerp's capacity 
developed. The extent to which the ports 
in the rear were to be developed and 
used from now on was therefore predi- 
cated on the progress in bringing Ant- 
werp into operation. 

Pending the development of new ca- 
pacity, meanwhile, supply officials were 
faced with the hard fact that in the im- 
mediate future the port situation would 
continue to deteriorate. Port discharge 
had improved slightly in the third week 
of September, averaging nearly 37,060 
tons per day. But in the following week 
it dropped to less than 28,000 tons, and 
for another full month was to average 
barely 25,000 as against the originally 
estimated requirement of 38,5oo. is 

The drop in performance at the end 
of September was caused in part by 
inclement weather, which hampered op- 
erations at the beaches. 19 But discharge 
had also fallen off at Cherbourg because 
of the handling of troop convoys with 
organizational equipment, which put an 
additional strain on the port's facilities 

17 Ltr, Lord to Chiefs of Gen and Special Stf Sees 
and Sec Comdrs, sub: Dev of Continental Ports, 27 
Sep 44, EUCOM 400 Supplies, Services, and Equip- 
ment 1944, V, or SHAEF AG 323.3-2 Captured 

18 Omaha District Summary of Opns, 25 Nov_2 
Dec, Pt. IV, ETO Adm 231. 

19 Mil Shipments Priority Mtg, 29 Sep 44, SHAEF 
AG 337-18. 

and out into normal unloading. 20 It had 
always been planned that Brest should 
handle the reception of personnel and 
organizational equipment. But the re- 
port of the survey group sent to examine 
Brest upon its capture on 25 September 
finally confirmed the fears which had 
been held regarding that port's condi- 
tion. The report disclosed that extreme 
demolitions, mining, and damage to 
quay facilities had rendered the port 
useless and estimated that even limited 
unloading of cargo and troops would 
not be possible for seventy-five days. 21 In 
view of the more urgent commitments 
to clear and rehabilitate Le Havre and 
Rouen, Brest was now given the lowest 
priority, 22 and was eventually abandoned 

At the end of September, therefore, 
the port situation remained grave. All 
hopes now centered on Antwerp, the 
opening of which, as the Supreme Com- 
mander had recently noted, would have 
"the effect of a blood transfusion" on the 
entire maintenance situation. 23 His con- 
cern, which was widely shared, was ex- 
pressed in a memo to the Chief of Staff 
at this time. "As you know," he said, "I 
am terribly anxious about Antwerp, not 
only the capture of its approaches, but 
the getting of the port to working in- 
stantaneously thereafter." 24 Antwerp 

20 Memo, Deputy Chief of Mov and Tn Br G-4 
SHAEF for G-4, sub: Port Info, 29 Sep 44, SHAEF 
G-4 825.1 Piers, . . . 1944 III. 

21 Cbl 281255, CTF 125 to ANCXF, 29 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 800 Harbors, Opening, Use, Construc- 

"Mil Shipments Priority Mtg, 29 Sep 44, SHAEF 
AG 337-!8. 

23 Ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 21 Sep 44, OPD 
Exec Office File 9. 

24 Memo, Eisenhower for CofS, 30 Sep 44, SHAEF 
SGS 800 Antwerp. 



had already been in Allied hands for 
four weeks. It was thought at the time 
of its capture that it would surely be in 
operation some time in October. At the 
end of September General Moses, the 
12th Army Group G-4 made an estimate 
which proved far more realistic when 
he suggested that it would be better not 
to plan on the port's opening until 1 
December. 25 

(2) The Beaches and Minor Ports 
of Normandy 

One of the outstanding features of 
logistic support in the first six months 
of operations was the unexpected extent 
to which U.S. supplies and personnel 
were funneled through the Normandy 
ports. Overlord plans had envisaged 
the Normandy area primarily as an in- 
terim base pending the development of 
Brittany. Since the beaches were ex- 
pected to have a short-lived usefulness 
and Cherbourg a relatively small capac- 
ity, a maximum discharge of less than 
26,000 tons per day was counted on for 
the Normandy beaches and ports. 20 This 
maximum was to be attained at about 
D plus 90, at which time Normandy's 
facilities were to account for about 55 
percent of the total U.S. port capacity 
on the Continent. Discharge through the 
Normandy ports was scheduled to de- 
cline to about 13,000 tons per day and 
account for only 30 percent of the total 
intake by early November. 

At D plus 90 (4 September) the daily 
discharge was actually averaging up- 
wards of 28,000 long tons and frequently 

25 Memo, Moses for Bradley, 30 Sep 44, 12 A Gp 
G-4 Memos of Gen Moses 1944. 

20 Granville is not included as a Normandy port 
in these comparisons for reasons explained later. 

exceeding 30,000 tons despite the fact 
that Mulberry A, the artificial port at 
Omaha Beach had been abandoned. Ex- 
cept for relatively minor unloadings 
across the beaches at St. Michel-en-Greve 
in Brittany, Normandy's facilities com- 
prised the entire discharge capacity avail- 
able to U.S. forces on the Continent. 
Early in November (D plus 150), despite 
the virtual cessation of operations at the 
beaches, the intake through the Nor- 
mandy ports still averaged about 17,000 
long tons per day and accounted for 63 
percent of the total U.S. discharge. 

The performance of the Normandy 
ports in terms of percentage of total dis- 
charge is explained by the failure to 
develop the Brittany area. Their per- 
formance in terms of tons discharged 
is explained first by the unexpected ca- 
pacity of the open beaches, and second, 
by the development of Cherbourg to a 
capacity far beyond that contemplated 
in plans. 

The capacity of the beaches proved a 
godsend in view of the delayed opening 
of Cherbourg. In the first seven weeks 
they constituted practically the only in- 
take capacity on the Continent. After the 
opening of Cherbourg and the develop- 
ment of other port capacity the relative 
importance of the beaches naturally 
declined. Nevertheless they continued 
to account for a significant percentage 
of the personnel, vehicles, and cargo 
brought to the Continent until the end 
of October. After the big storm in June 
operations at the beaches settled down 
to a normal routine. Both beaches were 
soon operating as well-organized ports 
and, except for occasional bad weather 
which halted or slowed down operations 
for brief periods, enjoyed relative stabil- 




Troops Debarking Onto a Causeway at Omaha Beach, 4 August 1944, 

20th to the 23d. On the last day of the 
month an all-time high of 25,853 tons 
was unloaded at the two beaches, Omaha 
handling 15,834 tons, 158 percent of its 
target, and Utah discharging 10,019 
tons, 175 percent of its rated capacity. 
This record was almost duplicated on 
the following day, when 25,303 tons 
were offloaded, and again on 8 August, 
when 25,563 tons were brought ashore. 

The landing of personnel kept pace, 
although the record was more erratic. 
The largest number of personnel de- 
barkations at Omaha Beach, except in 
the initial assault, had taken place on 
23 June, when 24,425 men came ashore. 
That day also established a record for 
combined debarkations at the two 
beaches, totaling 30,916. Omaha nearly 
equaled this performance again on 23 
July, when 24,068 men went ashore. 

ity. The establishment of beach transfer 
points, improvements in the Toad net- 
works, the landing of additional truck 
companies, and the general improvement 
in unloading and clearance methods 
brought increased discharge and move- 
ment of supplies, with the result that 
targets were consistently exceeded. In 
the week after the storm both beaches 
surpassed all previous performance, 
Omaha averaging 13,000 tons as against 
a target of 10,000, and Utah averaging 
7,200 tons compared with its goal of 
5 ,7oo. 27 

Unloading continued at a good rate 
in July, although fog and high winds 
again interfered in the period from the 

27 [Clifford L. Jones] Neptune: Training for and 
Mounting the Operation, and the Artificial Ports, 
Pt. VI of the Administrative and Logistical History 
of the ETO, II, 137-39, MS > OCMH. 



Utah's record was achieved on 19 July, 
when it handled 22,780 men. These per- 
formances were exceptional, of course, 
but the 10,000-mark was reached fre- 
quently in the first three months. 

July was also a good month for vehicle 
discharge, the two beaches handling a 
total of slightly more than 100,000 ve- 
hicles of all types for an average of 3,283 
per day. Omaha's best single day came 
on 5 July, when it received 3,837; the 
highest discharge rate was achieved at 
Utah on 25 July, when a total of 4,256 
was passed ashore. 28 

Another storm struck the beaches on 
the night of 1 August and cut deeply 
into the unloading rate on the 2d and 
3d. But the two beaches quickly resumed 
normal operations on 4 August. In fact, 
the demonstrated capacity of the beaches 
in July led supply officials to raise the 
tonnage target of Utah from 5,700 to 
10,000 tons per day, and that of Omaha 
from 10,000 to 15,000 tons. Raising the 
tonnage targets provided new goals for 
the beach organizations, but did not 
affect the rated capacity of the beaches. 
Utah met its new target the very next 
day— 6 August— with a discharge of 
10,500 tons, and two days later achieved 
the best performance of the entire period 
of its operations by unloading 11,577 
tons. Thereafter Utah met its new target 
only once— on 29 September, when it 
handled 10,612 tons. Omaha exceeded 
its new goal on 9 and 10 August, and 
again on four successive days from 17 to 
20 August. On 25 August it set a record 
for discharge over either beach of 16,078 

Many factors affected the discharge 

record of the beaches. Shortages of trans- 
portation often restricted discharge at 
first, and the improved performance in 
July could be attributed in large part 
to the provision of additional trucks. 
Congestion in the dumps also proved a 
limiting factor. Late in July an inspec- 
tion of a Class V dump behind Utah 
Beach revealed 100 loaded trucks stand- 
ing idle in the sorting and receiving 
bays for lack of adequate personnel to 
handle and store the ammunition. Ac- 
cording to one estimate this resulted in 
a 30 to 40 percent loss in efficiency in 
dukw operations and a reduction of 25 
percent in tonnage discharged. Early in 
August the assignment of additional 
troops to the dumps and improvements 
in supply handling methods at least tem- 
porarily eliminated this bottleneck. But 
the attainment of perfect balance be- 
tween the various functions and facilities 
involved in the unloading of a ship, 
movement over a beach, and clearance 
to a dump under the unpredictables pre- 
vailing in Normandy was next to im- 
possible and was achieved for only short 
periods, if at all. 29 

September was still a good month at 
the beaches, although the discharge rec- 
ord did not quite equal that of July and 
August, Heavy seas restricted operations 
on the 2d and 3d, and on 7 September 
rough weather again interfered with un- 
loading for a while. A more serious in- 
terruption occurred a few days later, 
when a storm cut rather deeply into the 
discharge rate for three days beginning 
on the 11th. Finally, high seas and fog 
again hampered operations, particularly 
at Omaha, toward the end of the month. 

I bid., II, 140-43. 

Ibid., II, 143-45. 



Bulldozer Stuck in the Thick Mud on a road near Marigny, France, July 1944- 

On the whole, however, unloadings in 
September exceeded expectations, and 
the restrictions on discharge were caused 
as much by the unavailability of loaded 
craft and by shortages in trucks, dukws, 
ferry craft, and men, as by bad weather. 
The last two days of September saw sub- 
stantial tonnages discharged at both 
beaches, totaling 20,933 tons on tne 2 9 tn 
and 18,575 on the 30th. 

But 1 October marked the beginning 
of a definite decline from which the 
beaches never recovered. As before, fac- 
tors other than the weather contributed 
to the falling off in discharge, notably the 
problem of vehicles. It became increas- 
ingly difficult to keep adequate numbers 
of dukws in operation. Most of them had 
been running continuously since the 

early days of the landings and were being 
deadlined for repairs an increasing per- 
centage of the time. The availability of 
trucks was always unpredictable, and 
early in October a substantial with- 
drawal of vehicles to bolster the Red 
Ball Express led to a downward revision 
in the tonnage goals for both beaches, 
the Omaha target reverting to the orig- 
inal 10,000 tons and Utah's to 4,000. 

The most serious limiting factor by 
this time was the weather. The fog and 
storms of August and September had 
interfered with operations for only short 
periods, and, with one exception, had 
never closed down all activity at the 
beaches, despite the tendency of the 
beach organizations to report "all opera- 
tions stopped" in these periods. The un- 



loading of beached coasters had usually 
continued, and full advantage was taken 
of temporary breaks in the weather, so 
that substantial unloadings were regis- 
tered even during the storm periods. In 
October, however, conditions were con- 
sistently bad, bringing operations to a 
complete halt four times at Utah Beach 
and twice at Omaha. On the last day of 
the month both beaches for the first time 
reported no discharge whatever, and for 
the entire month unloading at the two 
beaches averaged only 6,243 tons P er day. 

Bad weather also made clearance more 
and more difficult, for rain fell practi- 
cally every day and turned the roads be- 
hind the beaches into quagmires. Most 
roads were poorly drained and required 
constant maintenance. The problem of 
mud had actually begun to give trouble 
much earlier. By the first of October it 
had reached serious proportions. Clay 
also accumulated on metaled roads, caus- 
ing drivers to spin their wheels and punc- 
ture tires as they broke through to the 
hard, rough foundations. 

By the end of October it was obvious 
that the beaches were nearing the end 
of their usefulness. At that time the 
Navy withdrew its ferry craft from Utah, 
leaving the unloading entirely to dukws. 
Within another two weeks it did the 
same at Omaha. Conditions deteriorated 
steadily in these weeks, and unloading 
finally came to an end on 13 November 
at Utah, and on 19 November at 
Omaha, after 167 days of operation. 30 
In the final three weeks the scale of ac- 
tivity dropped rapidly, discharge totaling 
only a few thousand tons. 

Fortunately it was possible to operate 

Table 1 — Beach Discharges: i July- 
17 November 1944 a 

[Long Tons Weekly] 6 





1 i 














22-28 _ ._ _ 


























87, 819 


23, 196 











































a For June 1944 figures see Logistical Support I, 416. 
b Vehicles and bulk POL not included. 

Source: Neptune: Training for and Mounting the Operation, 
Part VI, Vol. II, 175-78. 

the beaches considerably longer than 
originally expected, and their over-all 
record was a spectacular one. In the 
twenty-four weeks of their operation 
they received approximately 2,000,000 
long tons of cargo, which constituted 
about 55 percent of the total tonnage 
brought onto the Continent up to that 
time. In addition, they had discharged 
287,50 vehicles and debarked 1,602,000 
men. 31 Table 1 summarizes the tonnages 
discharged by week. 

The official demise of the beach or- 

»ibid., 11, 151-52, 154-58. 

"Monthly Progress Rpt, OCofT COMZ ETO, 
Jim 45, ETO Adm. 



ganizations did not come until 4 Decem- 
ber, when the Omaha Beach Command 
was finally dissolved. Several adminis- 
trative changes had taken place which 
had altered somewhat the shape and 
status of the beach organizations since 
their arrival in the first days of the in- 
vasion. In the main, they reflected the 
evolution of the Communications Zone's 
organization on the Continent. On 7 
August the Omaha Beach Command, 
the 1st, 5th, and 6th Engineer Special 
Brigades, and key assigned and attached 
units were released from assignment to 
First Army and were temporarily as- 
signed to the Advance Section, to which 
they had been attached in mid-June. 
Within another week they were assigned 
to the Normandy Base Section, which 
assumed control of the Normandy area. 
The engineer brigades and attached 
units in the Omaha area had already 
been organized into the Omaha Beach 
Command, and the Utah area was now 
similarly organized into the Utah Beach 
Command, although the brigades re- 
tained their original identity. 

In September the areas controlled by 
the beach commands were enlarged, and 
a final expansion took place in October 
when Normandy Base Section was sub- 
divided into districts, the Omaha and 
Utah Commands respectively becoming 
Omaha and Utah districts under the re- 
organization. As the headquarters of 
COMZ subdivisions the original brigade 
organizations had thus assumed roles far 
removed from the specialized functions 
they had been trained for, and the change 
was not universally welcomed. First Bri- 
gade troops in particular were somewhat 
resentful, for as experts in amphibious 
operations they had half-expected to 

move on to the Pacific, and they did not 
relish their rear-echelon service role. 32 

Another administrative change, ef- 
fected in August, had little importance 
in the over-all organization of the 
beaches, but had its significance for the 
troop units involved. On 14 August the 
531st Engineer Shore Regiment (of the 
1st Engineer Special Brigade) was re- 
organized and redesignated the 1186th 
Engineer Combat Group. In effect, this 
change ended the Army's recognition 
of the 531st Engineer Shore Regiment 
as a specialized organization trained for 
amphibious work, and also ended the 
recognition of this unit as one with an 
unusual record of achievement. The 
531st had participated in four invasions 
and consisted of veterans with a profes- 
sional pride in their organization and 
their specialty. The change consequently 
brought an inevitable letdown in morale. 
Officers and men alike felt they had lost 
their distinctive identity. 33 

In summarizing the operations at 
Omaha and Utah it is appropriate to 
include a note on the British Mul- 
berry at Arromanches-les-Bains since 
that installation operated on U.S. ac- 
count for about a month. Mulberry B 
was operated by British forces through- 
out the summer and was of unquestioned 
importance as a source of discharge ca- 
pacity because of the delay in capturing 
suitable ports. Early in August the Brit- 
ish Chiefs of Staff, encouraged by the 
favorable developments following the 
breakout, questioned the future value 
and importance of the Mulberry in 
view of the prospects for the early cap- 

32 Neptune: Training for and Mounting the 
Operation, II, 146-48, 152-54. 
13 Ibid*, II, 145-46. 



ture of Brest, which, they suggested, 
might permit the transfer of Cherbourg 
to the British in the near future. 34 

This proposal found little support 
at Supreme Headquarters, where it was 
pointed out that the requirement for 
Liberty ship discharge facilities made it 
imperative that the Arromanches Mul- 
berry be employed to maximum capac- 
ity as long as the weather permitted. 35 
In fact SHAEF officials were already con- 
cerned over the slow progress being 
made in winterizing the Mulberry, 
which involved strengthening the exist- 
ing units and emplacing additional cais- 
sons (known as Phoenixes) then under 
construction in the United Kingdom. 36 
Early in September General Gale, the 
SHAEF chief administrative officer, 
once more emphasized the urgency of 
this program, pointing out that the Al- 
lies had not gained a single Liberty ship 
berth since the capture of Cherbourg 
more than two months earlier. He ex- 
pressed the belief that the Mulberry 
might still "save our lives. " 37 

Disagreement nevertheless persisted 
over the advisability of attempting to 
extend the life of Mulberry B. In Sep- 
tember the capture of Antwerp and Le 
Havre raised hopes that the discharge 
shortage might soon be eliminated. 

"Ltr, COS Com to CofS SHAEF, 9 Aug 44, 
SHAEF SGS 800.1 Mulberry O/CS II. 

35 Ltr, Smith to Secy COS Com, 13 Aug 44, SHAEF 
SGS 800.1 Mulberry O/CS II; Min, CAO Mtg, 12 
Aug 44, SHAEF AG 337-14 CAO Mtgs. 

M Cbl, ANCXF to SHAEF, 15 Aug 44, ETO 381/ 
430 Tonnage, Overlord, and documents in SHAEF 
G-4 825.1 Mulberry; Cbl FWD-12919, Gale to War 
Office for VQMG, 16 Aug 44, SHAEF SGS 800.1 
Mulberry Case A. 

37 Ltr, Gale to Maj Gen A. R. Godwin-Austen, 
VQMG, 9 Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 800.1 Mulberry Case 

Furthermore, winterization was costly. 
The British Chiefs of Staff, when they 
first questioned the future value of the 
Mulberry, had noted that the construc- 
tion of additional Phoenixes required 
the use of dockyards badly needed for 
the repair of damaged shipping. Move- 
ments and transportation officers at 21 
Army Group pointed out that the con- 
tinued use of the port entailed con- 
siderable work on the roads, which were 
beginning to break up, and noted that 
winterization would not guarantee a port 
throughout the winter. 38 So desperate 
was the need for discharge capacity, how- 
ever, that the expenditure of effort was 
considered justified and was therefore 
permitted to continue, 39 

By mid-October Mulberry B had as- 
sumed more importance to the Ameri- 
cans than to the British, for it had been 
decided to discharge U.S. Liberties there. 
The first unloading of U.S. ships had 
actually begun on the 13th. 40 The port 
was definitely a wasting asset now, and 
21 Army Group was anxious to with- 
draw personnel and floating equipment 
for use in the Belgian ports. In view 
of the bad condition of the roads back 
of the port and the limited capacity of 
the railway which came to within about 
twelve miles of the beach, the sole value 
which the Mulberry now had even for 
U.S. forces was that it relieved the ship- 
ping backlog which had developed off 
the coast. The Communications Zone 

38 Memo, DQMG Mov and Tn, 21 A Gp for MGA, 
sub: Policy on the Winterization of Mulberry, 17 
Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Mulberry II. 

,J9 Min, Mtg at Arromanches, with Maj Gen H. B. 
W. Hughes, Chief SHAEF Engr, presiding, 10 Oct 
44, SHAEF SGS 800.1 Mulberry Case A. 

40 Conf Notes, 29 Sep 44, G-4 COMZ Plant and 
Communications Diary /Jnl, ETO Adm 145C. 



was inclined to agree on the low value 
of the Mulberry, and favored a pro- 
posal to use the newly constructed 
Phoenixes at Le Havre, where they could 
be used to greater advantage, in part be- 
cause clearance would be directly by rail. 

On 16 October the whole matter of 
the Mulberry's future was reconsidered 
at a meeting at SHAEF over which Gen- 
eral Gale presided. The conference rec- 
ommended that winterization be aban- 
doned. Five Phoenixes then en route to 
the port were to be installed; but no 
more blockships were to be sunk off Ar- 
romanches, and ten of the new Phoe- 
nixes were to be sent to Le Havre, the re- 
mainder being held in the United King- 
dom as a reserve. The unloading of cargo 
at Mulberry B was to continue until 31 
October, and MT ships were to be ac- 
cepted as long as conditions permitted. 
Except for the salvaging of removable 
equipment, the port would be left to dis- 
integrate after the end of October. The 
SHAEF Chief of Staff approved these 
recommendations on 18 October. 41 

The rapid deterioration at Omaha 
and Utah in the last half of October, 
coupled with the fact that Le Havre and 
Rouen were developing much more slow- 
ly than had been expected, compelled 
the Communications Zone to make the 
most of the British Mulberry. Unload- 
ing of Liberties necessitated the use of 
pierheads and entailed a risk of losing 
part of the Whale bridging making up 
the pier at Arromanches in case bad 

41 Min Mtg at SHAEF, 16 Oct 44, and Cbl S- 
62823, SHAEF to ANCXF, 21 A Gp, and COMZ, 18 
Oct 44, SHAEF SGS 800.1 Mulberry O/CS II; CAO 
Mtg, 20 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 337-14 CAO Mtgs; 
COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications Diary /Jnl, 
16 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C. 

weather suddenly broke up the port. In 
view of the requirement for the maxi- 
mum possible discharge of cargo, how- 
ever, Maj. Gen. Robert W. Crawford, 
the SHAEF G-4 believed the risk justi- 
fied, and he recommended on 2 Novem- 
ber that certain bridging equipment be 
left at Arromanches. 42 One pier and 
pierhead were left for U.S. use, there- 
fore, and the unloading of U.S. cargo 
continued for a few more weeks. 43 The 
entire matter of winterization was recon- 
sidered again early in November, Ad- 
miral Sir Bertram H. Ramsay recom- 
mending that winterization be con- 
tinued because experiments with the 
Phoenixes at Le Havre had not gone 
well. 44 But the earlier decision stood 
firm, and Mulberry B ceased operating 
on 19 November, the same day on which 
discharge at Omaha Beach came to an 

The cargo which U.S. forces received 
through the British Mulberry was actu- 
ally negligible in quantity, for the total 
intake in the five-week period was a bare 
20,000 tons, consisting chiefly of ammu- 
nition from ships lightened at Omaha. 45 

Meanwhile, the smaller Normandy 
ports made their contribution to the 
total tonnage discharged on the Con- 
tinent, although it was rather short-lived 
and small in terms of the total cargo 
unloaded. Grandcamp, Isigny, Barfleur, 
St. Vaast, and Carentan were all tidal 

42 Ltr, Crawford to CAO, sub: Winterization of 
Mulberry, a Nov 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Mulberry 

43 Memo, Brig W. E. Blakey, Deputy Tn SHAEF, 
sub: Mulberry, 6 Nov 44, and Ltr, Gale to CofS 
SHAEF, sub: Winterization of Mulberry, 6 Nov 44, 
SHAEF G_4 825.1 Mulberry II. 

44 Ltr, Gale to CofS SHAEF, 6 Nov 44. 
40 G-4 History, I, 53. 



ports which were practically useless at 
low water; in addition, Carentan was a 
locked harbor at the end of an eight- 
to ten-mile long channel connecting it 
with the sea, and Isigny was also several 
miles inland. None could accommodate 
deep-draft vessels and their use was there- 
fore restricted to receiving coasters. 
Overlord plans had contemplated the 
development of these ports, with the 
exception of Carentan, to a combined 
capacity of less than 3,000 tons. 

All five ports were found in good 
condition, except for mines, roadblocks, 
sunken craft, barbed wire, and other 
obstructions. The removal of sunken 
vessels and the cleanup of the debris 
was largely completed by the first of 
July, and rehabilitation was continued 
to develop the planned capacities of the 
ports. Grandcamp and Isigny were the 
first to be captured and began to receive 
cargo on 23 and 24 June, respectively. St. 
Vaast discharged its first supplies on 9 
July, and Carentan and Barfleur opened 
on the 25th and 26th. 

Up to the time of the breakout the 
cargo discharged by these small ports 
totaled 48,343 long tons, the equivalent 
of about three good days at the beaches. 
All these ports were capable of greater 
development, however, and the targets 
for both Grandcamp and Isigny had 
already been raised at the end of June. 
Late in July port plans were completely 
re-examined in view of the threatened 
deficit in discharge capacity, and the de- 
cision was made to develop the minor 
ports to their maximum capacity, then 
estimated at 17,000 tons per day. 46 

At Barfleur and Carentan the addi- 

48 Normandy Base Section, Engineer Section His- 
tory, 8, ETO Adm 596. 

tional work which the new targets en- 
tailed was completed in the first week 
of August, raising the capacity of the 
former from 1,000 to 2,500 tons, and 
giving the latter a capacity of 4,000 tons. 
ADSEC engineers also carried out addi- 
tional rehabilitation at Grandcamp, 
Isigny, and St. Vaast, except for the 
dredging which was necessary to the 
development of their full capacity. Since 
these harbors dried out at low tide, a 
dredge capable of resting on the bottom 
was required. Such a vessel— the French 
bucket dredge Divette—was found in the 
British sector, was towed to Isigny, and 
after some repairs began dredging the 
silt from that port. 47 A few days of opera- 
tion, however, revealed that craft could 
not enter the harbor while the dredge 
was working. This, plus the prospect 
that Cherbourg would soon be handling 
large tonnages, led to the cancellation of 
the entire program for the three ports, 
leaving them somewhat short of their 
maximum development. 48 

Failure to develop these ports to their 
full capacity actually entailed no loss, 
for at no time in the course of their 
operations did their combined discharge 
equal their rated capacity of 12,000 
tons. The utilization of these ports de- 
pended entirely on the availability of 
barges and small coasters, which were 
forced to handle a much greater portion 
of the tonnage than planned because of 
the long delay in developing deepwater 
berths for the direct discharge of Liberty 
ships. A variety of difficulties plagued 

"This area was under the control of Normandy 
Base Section by this time. 

48 Normandy Base Section, Engineer Section His- 
tory, pp. 26-27; Port Construction and Repair, Hist 
Rpt 11, OCE ETO, pp. 69-70, ETO Adm. 



the operations of the minor ports, the 
chief of which was the fact that they 
were all tidal. In some cases, particularly 
during the low neap tides, it was neces- 
sary to lighten even coasters before they 
could enter. 

Plans for the use of Carentan proved 
the most unrealistic. The long narrow 
channel which separated that port from 
open water was particularly trouble- 
some. In July three vessels either sank 
or ran aground in this channel through 
various causes. 49 A succession of such 
difficulties finally led to the conclusion 
that the operation of that port was more 
trouble than it was worth. Carentan 
consequently had a short life as a cargo 
port, discharging for a period of only 
seven days, from 25 to 31 July. Its total 
intake for that single week amounted to 
a mere 2,1 14 tons for an average of about 
300 per day, far short of its rated capacity 
of between 2,000 and 4,000 tons. 

While Carentan made the poorest 
showing, none of Normandy's minor 
ports met their targets even for short 
periods. Only one, St. Vaast, achieved 
an average of more than 1 ,000 tons. 
(Table 2) All five ports had ceased 
operating by mid-October, and were 
turned back to the French on 9 Novem- 
ber. 50 Taken together, the five ports dis- 
charged a grand total of 330,600 long 
tons, comprising 10 percent of all the 
cargo offloaded on the Continent up to 
mid-October. Their performance was of 
course overshadowed from the begin- 
ning by that of the beaches, and was 
later put completely in the shade by the 

Table 2 — Discharge Performance of 
Normandy's Minor Ports 

[Long Tons] 





tons dis- 




23 June. 

19 September 





24 June. 

IS October. _ 




St. Vaast__ 

9 July _ 

16 October.. 





25 July. 

31 July 





26 July _ 

16 October. . 




46 History of TC ETO, IV nth Port, pp. 12-13. 

50 [E. Cutts] American Port Plans, August to No- 
vember 1944, prep by Hist Sec ETO, pp. 20-23, MS 
in OCMH. 

development of Cherbourg's capacity. 
Their tonnage record, however, like that 
of the airlift during the pursuit, is hardly 
a fair measure of their value, which was 
considerable when viewed in the light 
of the desperate shortage of discharge 
capacity at the time. 

(3) The Role of Cherbourg 

Considering that the port problem 
dominated logistic planning for Over- 
lord and involved such meticulous prep- 
arations it is ironic that the actual 
development of port capacity should 
have proceeded so differently from that 
planned. This was first evident at the 
beaches, which fortunately revealed po- 
tentialities far beyond expectations and 
remained in operation longer than an- 
ticipated. Performance at the minor 
ports roughly matched the pre-D-Day 
estimates, although it fell short of the 
goals set for them after their capture. 
Meanwhile, the port of Cherbourg also 
played a far different role in the logistic 
support of U.S. forces from what had 
been expected. 

As the only large port in the area of 
the landings Cherbourg was the first 



major objective of the U.S. forces in the 
Normandy landings and was scheduled 
for early capture and rehabilitation. But 
Cherbourg, which in peacetime was pri- 
marily a passenger port and naval base, 
was expected to develop a capacity of 
less than 9,000 tons and to bear a sizable 
portion of the discharge burden for only 
a short time. Contrary to these plans, 
and despite the delay in capturing the 
port and bringing it into operation, 
Cherbourg achieved a discharge rate 
more than double the goal originally 
set, and until Antwerp was finally 
brought into operation was the main- 
stay of the port system supporting U.S. 

On the day of its capture late in June 
there was little indication of the great 
role that Cherbourg was to have, for 
the picture which the harbor presented 
when the last major resistance in the 
arsenal area collapsed was discouraging 
indeed. As a port Cherbourg had been 
destroyed with Teutonic thoroughness. 
Reconnaissance of the harbor, which be- 
gan before the last resistance ended, 
showed that 95 percent of the existing 
quayage capable of handling deep-draft 
shipping was destroyed; many of the har- 
bor buildings, particularly in the arsenal 
area, were demolished; and dozens of 
sunken ships and smaller craft, ranging 
from a 550-foot whaler to tiny fishing 
boats, blocked the entrance channels 
leading to the various basins and docks. 
In addition, native Frenchmen and cap- 
tured prisoners told of wholesale mining 
of the harbor. Adolph Hitler himself 
appeared well satisfied with the way in 
which his naval commandant at Cher- 
bourg had carried out his mission, com- 
mending Konteradmiral Walther Hen- 

necke for his "exemplary destruction" of 
the harbor. 51 

The scale of demolitions at Cherbourg 
was actually no greater than anticipated, 
but the opening of the port within a 
period of three days of capture, as orig- 
inally scheduled, was clearly out of the 
question. Some conception of the prob- 
lems which confronted both Army and 
Navy units at Cherbourg may be gained 
by a brief survey of the damage and ob- 
structions in the main port areas, begin- 
ning at the eastern end of the Petite 
Rade, or inner roadstead, and pr oceed- 

ing clockwise around the harbor. (Map 
4) The eastern end of the port was the 
least-developed area. There the terraces 
known as the Reclamation and the Terre 
Plein simply formed anchorage for shal- 
low-draft vessels and had suffered little 
damage. The masonry sea walls there 
were intact, although they were heavily 
fortified and backed by tank traps and 
roadblocks. Just west of the Terre Plein, 
however, some of the worst demolitions 
on the entire port were found at the 
quays forming the great deepwater Darse 
Transatlantique. This dock, built by 
the Germans between 1923 and 1935 as 
a World War I reparation, was 800 feet 
wide and 2,000 feet long. Forming the 
eastern side of the dock was the Quai de 
Normandie, which had not been com- 
pleted, about 1,000 feet of it consisting 
of unfilled caissons. Before the demoli- 
tions one crawler crane and five large 
gantry cranes weighing about thirty tons 

51 Cherbourg Port Reconstruction, prep by OCE 
ETO, 1944, Annex B to History of the Normandy 
Base Section, ETO Adra 596; Cherbourg— Gateway 
to France: Rehabilitation and Operation of the 
First Major Port, prep by Hist Sec ETO [1945], Ch. 
I, p. 12, Ch. Ill, pp. 4-5, Ch. IV, p. 3, MS in 



had been tipped into the water and the 
quay walls then blown in on top of them. 
Forming the western side of the Darse 
was the new Quai de France, a modern 
wharf capable of berthing the largest 
ocean liners and including the pride of 
the city, the fine Gare Maritime, where 
passengers could alight from transatlan- 
tique liners and under the same roof 
board streamlined trains for Paris. Dem- 
olitions here followed the same pattern 
as at the adjacent Quai de Normandie, 
although there was much more to de- 
stroy. More than 15,000 cubic yards of 
caisson masonry had been blown from 
2,000 feet of the quay wall into the 
Darse. The railway station, a reinforced 
concrete building 787 feet long, while 
not totally destroyed, was badly dam- 
aged, and its utilities, such as the heat- 
ing plant and electric control apparatus, 
were completely demolished. 

Immediately to the west of the great 
pier forming the Quai de France and the 
Gare Maritime a channel led directly 
south into a tidal basin and wet dock— 
the Avant Port de Commerce and the 
Bassin a Flot— lying in the very heart of 
the city. No damage had been inflicted 
on the innermost Bassin a Plot, but in 
the Avant Port the eastside Quai de 
TAncien Arsenal was entirely in ruins, 
and a swing bridge known as the Pont 
Tournant, which spanned the channel 
between the two basins and was on the 
principal artery connecting the two 
halves of the city, had been wrecked, 
half of it lying in the channel and 
the other half mined. Together with 
the installations surrounding the Darse 
Transatlantique this area formed the 
commercial part of the port. 

To the west lay the Nouvelle Plage, 

a 400-yard beach, and beyond it a sea- 
plane base. The Nouvelle Plage, since 
it contained no man-made installations, 
suffered no damage, although it had 
been fortified with barbed wire and 
fences. At the seaplane base, however, 
all hangars and other buildings were 
wrecked, and all cranes had been blown 
into the harbor. 

Off the western side of the Petite Rade 
lay the most elaborate installations of the 
entire port— the arsenal and naval dock- 
yard, containing both tidal and nontidal 
basins and drydocks, workshops, bar- 
racks, and storage facilities. Destruction 
to buildings was particularly widespread 
in this area, some of it caused by Allied 
air attacks in the preceding years. All 
drydock gates were wrecked, every bridge 
except one was demolished, including a 
retractable railway bridge, and all portal 
cranes had been blown up. Where facili- 
ties remained standing they had been 
prepared for demolition by 500-pound 
bombs. Only quay walls were intact in 
this entire area. 

Forming the northwest edge of the 
Petite Rade was the Quai Hornet, a 
berth which apparently had been used 
by coal coasters. This quay had been 
cratered in nine places and the explo- 
sions had thrown much of the wall out 
of line. Finally, the Digue du Hornet, 
the 1,100-yard mole which formed the 
western breakwater of the Petite Rade, 
had also been systematically demolished. 
The Digue du Hornet carried both rail- 
way tracks and oil lines and was quayed 
on the port side. All these facilities were 
unusable, for the breakwater was blown 
out on the quay side at eleven places, 
and in two additional places had craters 
more than a hundred feet long extend- 



ing the full seventy-foot width of the 
mole. Opposite the Digue du Hornet the 
eastern breakwater, known as the Jetee 
des Flamands, had no value so far as 
cargo discharge was concerned and was 
untouched. 52 

The cratered and crumbling quays, 
the toppled cranes, the blown bridges, 
and the demolished buildings repre- 
sented only the most evident damage to 
the port. Intelligence had already re- 
vealed that the black waters of the Petite 
Rade and the various basins had been 
rendered treacherous by hundreds of 
mines, and the first reconnaissance dis- 
closed that every passage or channel in 
the harbor was blocked by sunken ships. 
These mines and ships, as it turned out, 
proved to be the chief obstacles delaying 
the opening of the port. A complete 
catalog of the ships, cranes, and other 
miscellaneous wreckage with which the 
harbor floor was strewn cannot be de- 
tailed here, but a few examples will 
illustrate the extent to which the various 
channels were blocked. 

The principal sinkings had taken place 
in the entrance channels leading to the 
Darse Transatlantique, the Port de Com- 
merce, and the arsenal area. The Darse 
Transatlantique, for example, was com- 
pletely blocked off to any deep-draft ves- 
sels by two large ships which had been 
sunk across its entrance. One was a 550- 
foot whaler of 7,000 to 8,000 tons, the 
Solglint, which lay on its side with its 
bow against the north end of the Quai 
de Normandie. The other was a rotted 
coaster, the 325-foot Granlieu, which 
completed the closure of the Darse's 

52 Cherbourg Port Reconstruction, pp. 13-25. 

entrance, extending across to the tip of 
the Quai de France. 

In the Avant Port de Commerce and 
the Bassin a Flot about a dozen small 
craft had been sunk. These presented no 
serious trouble and were removed by 
floating cranes. But in the channel lead- 
ing to these basins lay sixteen vessels 
which denied entrance to the Port de 
Commerce to everything but small craft, 
such as barges. The major obstacle was 
a large coaster, the Normand, the other 
fifteen consisting of old tugs of various 

The arsenal area had by far the largest 
concentration of sunken vessels. The en- 
trance to the first basin— the Avant Port 
—was effectively blocked by two barges 
and an old German-built submarine lift- 
ing vessel of about 1,000 tons. Floating 
the latter proved impossible, so that 
eventually it was necessary to cut up the 
vessel and remove it piecemeal, a task 
which required almost four weeks. In 
the Avant Port itself lay eight other 
vessels, the larger ones at the entrances 
to the inner basins— the Bassin Napoleon 
III to the west, and the Bassin Charles X 
to the north. One of the sunken barges 
in the Avant Port carried a deadly cargo 
of sixty-five to seventy contact, magnetic, 
and acoustic mines, each of which had 
to be gingerly removed by divers. Addi- 
tional vessels had been sunk in the pas- 
sages which led to the inner basins— a 
large trawler in the passage leading to 
the Bassin Napoleon III, and five vessels 
in that leading to the Bassin Charles X. 
The latter contained an additional eight 
craft, including a 110-ton floating crane, 
and the Bassin Napoleon III was littered 
with another fifteen barges, tugs, and 
trawlers, which denied access to the 



Destruction at Cherbourg. Gare Maritime, left. Note damage left of pier and 
the Normand, right, blocking entrance to the Avant Port de Commerce. Right, 
the Solglint sunk off the Quai de Normandie. 

quays. The passage connecting the two 
inner basins was completely blocked by 
four craft and a demolished swing 
bridge. Since this passage was too nar- 
row to be of much service no attempt was 
made to clear it. 

These sinkings constituted the bulk 
of those obviously calculated to render 
the port unusable, but there were many 
other craft scattered about the harbor. 
An armed trawler had been sunk in the 
big battleship drydock in the northwest 
corner of the Petite Rade, and several 
trucks had also been dumped into the 
dock; two barges and three large tugs 
had been sunk alongside the Digue de 
Hornet; a coaster and ten-ton floating 
crane lay to one side of the Nouvelle 
Plkge; and the small basins at the south- 
ern end of the arsenal area, particularly 
the Bassin des Subsistances, were clut- 

tered with motor launches, barges, traw- 
lers, tugs, and floating cranes. 53 

The clearance of some of this wreck- 
age was obviously one of the first steps 
required to bring the port into opera- 
tion. This task could get under way as 
soon as agreement was reached on the 
order in which various sections of the 
port should be rehabilitated. Navy sal- 
vage officers and Army engineer and 
transportation officers had entered the 
port on the day of its capture and after 
a quick reconnaissance established prior- 
ities on 28 June for the reconstruction 
of certain areas. In every case both sal- 
vage by the Navy and shore reconstruc- 
tion work by the Army engineers were 
required to permit the start of discharge 
operations. Almost all salvage operations, 

Ibid., pp. 26-29. 



Destruction at Cherbourg. Wrecked 
partially sunken craft and demolished 
Bassin Charles X, naval arsenal area. 

hangars at seaplane base, left. Right, 
swing bridge in the narrow passage to 

however, required the use of lifting craft, 
pontons, or large floating cranes, and 
none of these could be brought in until 
the approaches to the various quays and 
channels were clear of mines. Mine clear- 
ance consequently took precedence over 
even the removal of obstacles. 

The enemy had done as masterful a 
job in mining the harbor as he had in 
demolishing its onshore facilities and 
sinking obstacles in the approaches. Ac- 
cording to Commodore William A. Sul- 
livan, an experienced salvage officer who 
surveyed the port upon its capture, the 
mine-sweeping problem which it created 
was the most complicated yet encoun- 
tered in any harbor clearance work. Vari- 
ous types of magnetic, acoustic, contact, 
and "Katy" mines were uncovered, either 
by sweeping operations or through acci- 
dents to shipping. The first three types 

were already well known and were found 
in both the outer and inner roadsteads 
and entrances thereto, in the arsenal 
basins, and in the Darse Transatlantique. 
The Katy mine was new, however, and 
proved the most troublesome. Normal 
mine-sweeping would not set it off, for 
it was usually planted in the growth of 
the harbor floor. Most of the Katies were 
sown in the shallow anchorage of Quer- 
queville Bay at the western end of the 
Grande Rade or outer roadstead, and 
just off the Reclamation area at the east- 
ern end of the Petite Rade. 

Virtually no part of the harbor was 
clear, although the mining of the harbor 
apparently had been far from completed, 
as evidenced by the sunken barge in 
one of the arsenal basins that contained 
the mines. Twenty-four carloads were 
eventually removed from the debris in 



the Gare Maritime. A narrow lane had 
been left free inside the central outer 
breakwater— the Grand Digue— from the 
western entrance to a point opposite the 
entrance to the Petite Rade. Starting 
with this slender opening, sweeping op- 
erations got under way on 30 June, the 
day after the enemy finally surrendered 
the forts on the outer breakwater. Both 
U.S. and British vessels participated in 
the clearance operations, all under the 
direction of Commander John B. G. 
Temple of the Royal Navy. A large, 
roughly rectangular anchorage in the 
Grande Rade was cleared first, and the 
sweepers then moved into the Petite 
Rade and Darse Transatlantique. Lack 
of maneuver space hampered operations 
throughout, and before the dangerous 
work was completed ten vessels, includ- 
ing three mine sweepers, were sunk by 
mines and three others were damaged. 
Most of the casualties were attributed 
to the unfamiliar Katy mine, which ves- 
sels "sat on" and detonated when anchor- 
ing or moving about at low tide. Con- 
trary to all expectations mine clearance 
proved the major factor in delaying the 
opening of the port, and eventually re- 
quired more than three and one half 
months to complete. 54 

The start of discharge operations did 
not of course await the completion of 
the demining task. Naval salvage work 
and Army engineer construction started 
immediately to ready for cargo reception 
four areas of the port which had been 
named in the priority program on 28 
June: (1) the Nouvelle Plage, suitable 
for dukws; (2) the Bassin a Flot or wet 
basin of the commercial port, for barge 

84 Ibid., p. 26; Cherbourg— Gateway to France, 
Ch. Ill, pp. 

discharge; (3) the Reclamation area, for 
railway rolling stock and LST's; and (4) 
the Digue du Hornet, for Liberty ships 
and seatrains. 

Salvage work actually got under way 
simultaneously with demining opera- 
tions where it could be undertaken with- 
out the benefit of lifting craft, pontons, 
and cranes. In many cases it was found 
possible to raise undamaged vessels sim- 
ply by pumping the water out of them 
and then floating them away. Others 
were patched at low water and then 
floated at high tide. In this way four of 
the sixteen vessels blocking the entrance 
to the Port de Commerce were removed 
before the arrival of the heavier salvage 
equipment, and would have permitted 
access to the inner basins within a week 
of the port's capture had it not been for 
the delay in mine clearance. No attempt 
was made to remove the biggest obstacle 
in the channel, the large coaster Nor- 
mand, which lay on its port side at right 
angles to the west side of the Gare Mari- 
time. Its starboard side was approxi- 
mately level with the pier of the Gare, 
and therefore provided a perfect foun- 
dation for a pier at which small coasters 
could unload. 

Similar use was made of the two ves- 
sels which had been sunk across the 
entrance to the Darse Transatlantique. 
The whaler Solglint lay on its starboard 
side at right angles to the Quai de Nor- 
mandie, its port side level with the lat- 
ter s deck and thus forming an excellent 
foundation for an additional pier. Only 
its superstructure was removed so that 
Liberty ships could moor on both sides. 
The coaster Granlieu was utilized in the 
same way, but had to be moved since 
it rested between the stern of the sunken 



Solglint and the northeast corner of the 
Quai de France, completely blocking the 
entrance to the Darse. Approximately 
seventy-five tons of concrete from the 
demolished buildings of the Gare Mari- 
time lay atop the Granlieu and had to be 
removed first. Then, by the use of com- 
pressed air and tows, the Granlieu was 
swung out in a 90-degree arc so that it 
formed a continuation of the quay. An 
army tug promptly sank in the exact 
spot from which the coaster had been 
moved, but it was raised within a few 
days. On 18 September, eleven weeks 
after the port's capture and seventy-six 
days later than planned, the entrance to 
the Darse was finally clear. 

Clearance of the arsenal area also 
started, beginning with the removal of 
the submarine lifting craft and barges 
blocking the entrance to the Avant Port. 
Obstacles were literally piled one on top 
of another in this area, and floating 
cranes and lifting craft eventually re- 
moved forty tugs, barges, and cranes 
from the three basins. The arsenal area, 
like the Darse Transatlantique, was low 
on the salvage priority list, and it was 
not until 7 September, sixty-six days after 
the capture of the port, that the first 
Liberty ship could be brought into the 
Bassin Napoleon III, and 21 September 
before the first Liberty could dock in 
the Bassin Charles X. The salvage task 
at Cherbourg was finally completed on 
29 September. 55 

The development of shore facilities 
had proceeded simultaneously with sal- 
vage operations under priorities designed 
to open as quickly as possible those areas 
of the port which could receive cargo 

"Cherbourg Port Reconstruction, pp. 34-39; 
Cherbourg— Gateway to France, Ch. Ill, pp. 12-19. 

with the least delay. In accordance with 
the priorities established on 28 June, 
work immediately started on the Nou- 
velle Plage, the Bassin a Flot, the Digue 
du Hornet, and the Reclamation area for 
the reception of various types of craft, 
ranging from dukws to Liberty ships. 
The establishment of priorities was de- 
signed to get work under way immedi- 
ately and did not constitute a detailed 
plan for the port's reconstruction. The 
ADSEC engineer worked out such a plan 
in the succeeding days and presented it 
to the theater engineer on 4 July. Two 
days later it was approved by the com- 
manding general of the Communica- 
tions Zone. 

The plan's most striking feature was 
the doubling of the original discharge 
target for Cherbourg, raising it from 
8,800 tons to 17,000 tons per day. Most 
of the additional capacity was to be pro- 
vided by the construction of marginal 
wharves along the undamaged Terre 
Plein and Reclamation area and sea 
walls, and by the construction of "fin- 
gers" for additional Liberty berths along 
the Digue du Hornet and along the Quai 
de France and Quai de Normandie. 
Within a few weeks the growing con- 
cern over the port situation led to the 
realization that Cherbourg in all prob- 
ability would have to bear an even larger 
portion of the port discharge burden. 
On 24 July, in the first major amend- 
ment to the development plan, the port's 
reception capacity was raised another 
4,000 tons, to 21,800, by the decision to 
develop more fully the quays in the 
Darse Transatlantique and by a greater 
development of the arsenal area than 
was originally contemplated. 

Reconstruction had started under the 



Marginal Wharf Construction along the Terre Plein, Cherbourg, 24 July 1944. 

direction of the 1056th Engineer Port 
Construction and Repair (PC&R) Group. 
The main working force consisted of 
several engineer general and special serv- 
ice regiments, although a variety of spe- 
cialist units, such as engineer dump 
truck companies, engineer fire fighting 
platoons, bomb disposal squads, and 
port repair ships were also attached. An 
advance party of the 1056th PC&R 
Group, including its commander, Col. 
James B. Cress, arrived at Cherbourg on 
27 June, and on the following day began 
work on the Nouvelle Plage and the 
commercial port. 

Development of the Nouvelle Plage 
was not a complicated or elaborate re- 
construction job, since this beach was 
simply to be converted into a landing 
point for dukws and LCT's. Except for 

barbed wire and other scattered debris 
there was no heavy wreckage to clear. 
Engineers blasted three exits in the 
sea wall, graded the beach, and built 
three concrete roads. This work was com- 
pleted in eight days, and would have 
permitted the reception of cargo had it 
been safe to bring ships into the harbor. 
Not until 14 July, however, were the 
western ends of the outer and inner 
roadsteads declared free of mines. Fi- 
nally on 16 July four Liberty ships 
loaded with construction supplies and 
vehicles needed in the rehabilitation of 
the port entered the harbor and an- 
chored in the Grande Rade. Late that 
afternoon a dukw driven by Pvt. Charles 
I. Willis of the 821st Amphibious Truck 
Company brought the first load of sup- 
plies, consisting of Signal Corps wire, 



to the Nouvelle Plage, where a crane 
transferred the cargo to a waiting truck 
driven by Pvt. William G. O'Hair of 
the 3884th Quartermaster Truck Com- 
pany (Transportation Corps). A few min- 
utes later the first supplies discharged 
at Cherbourg were on their way to a 
depot five miles south of the city. Port 
operations were finally under way. 56 

Additional construction carried out 
at the Nouvelle Plage during the next 
month, consisting mainly of a concrete 
loading platform and a ramp similar 
to the hards built in the United King- 
dom, brought the beach's dukw dis- 
charge capacity to a rated 2,000 tons 
per day. Most of this work was carried 

out by the 342d Engineer General Serv- 
ice Regiment, using captured enemy 
supplies. 57 

Less than twenty-four hours after the 
first cargo arrived at the Nouvelle Plage 
unloading also began in the Bassin a 
Flot, or wet basin of the commercial 
port. The heaviest damage in this area 
had been to the eastern quay of the 
Avant Port de Commerce (the Quai de 
TAncien Arsenal) and to the Pont Tour- 
nant, which bridged the channel be- 
tween the two basins. The demolished 
swing bridge could not be salvaged, and 
was quickly cut up with torches. In its 
place engineers improvised a retractable 
bridge, using Bailey bridging and an 
electric hoist. 

56 Cherbourg— Gateway to France, Ch. II, p. 2, Ch. 

IV, pp. 6-7, Ch. VI, pp. 5-6. 57 Cherbourg Port Reconstruction, p. 44. 



Before attempting to restore the badly 
demolished eastern quay, engineers con- 
structed a paved LST ramp in the north- 
east corner of the Avant Port so that 
railway rolling stock could be brought 
ashore there. Two railway tracks were 
laid to accommodate two LST's at the 
same time. But the basin was found to be 
too small arid too crowded with barge 
traffic to permit maneuvering LST's, and 
the facilities were never used for the 
purpose intended. 

Late in August attention shifted to 
the eastern quay, the Quai de l'Ancien 
Arsenal, where the concrete pile wharf 
had been completely demolished. After 
the removal of much of the debris this 
quay was reconstructed, part of it of con- 
crete and steel, and the remainder of 
timber. The Avant Port eventually could 
accommodate 8 barges and the Bassin a 
Flot 13 barges and 6 coasters. Together 
the two basins had a capacity of about 
2,000 tons per day. 

The seaplane base, where a concrete 
ramp, or hard, already existed, provided 
facilities similar to those at the Nouvelle 
Plage. The ramp there was simply 
widened considerably and its craters were 
filled. In addition, rail lines were built 
down to the water's edge so that rolling 
stock could be discharged directly from 
LST's. When completed the seaplane 
base was wide enough to accommodate 
six LST's discharging simultaneously, 
and could also be used for dukws. 

Similar accommodations were con- 
structed in the Reclamation areaj at the 
eastern end of the harbor. A concrete sea 
wall was first removed there, and a con- 
crete apron 80 feet by 270 feet was then 
laid, wide enough to accommodate six 
LST's. Three berths were intended for 

the discharge of vehicles, and three for 
railway rolling stock, for which purpose 
rail lines were laid to the water's edge. 
The first delivery of rolling stock at this 
point was made by converted LST's on 

3 1 J ul Y- 

One of the most profitable and ambi- 
tious construction projects was carried 
out in the basin bounded by the Recla- 
mation area, the Terre Plein, and the 
Quai de Normandie. This area had never 
been developed for unloading opera- 
tions, and its sea walls were undamaged, 
although a few craters along the terrace 
had to be filled and pillboxes removed. 
Once this was accomplished a timber 
platform forty-two feet wide was built 
on wood piles directly over and strad- 
dling the sea wall to form a wharf at 
which barges could discharge. When 
completed this platform extended along 
all three sides of the basin and was 4,200 
feet long. It could accommodate forty- 
one barges at a time, and was served by 
fifty-two stiff-leg derricks, which could 
transfer cargo directly to railway cars. 
At low tide barges dried out in this area. 

Rehabilitation of the northwest cor- 
ner of the harbor, namely the Digue du 
Hornet and Quai Hornet, had been given 
high priority, and work began there 
within a week of the port's capture. The 
Digue du Hornet was particularly valu- 
able, for it promised to provide badly 
needed deepwater berths for Liberty 
ships, which could discharge directly to 
the rail lines running the entire length 
of the mole, and also berths for train 
ferries bringing in locomotives and roll- 
ing stock. The Digue itself was badly 
cratered and in two places completely 
breached, permitting the water to flow 
through. The first priority was to fill 



these craters and clear away the debris. 
This was completed in four days, after 
which the repair of the railway was 
undertaken. Since the quay side of the 
Digue had an underwater shelf, engi- 
neers constructed five pile and timber 
platforms to serve as unloading wharves 
for Liberty ships. Later they filled in the 
gaps between them to create a continu- 
ous quay along 2,700 feet of the 3,300- 
foot mole. The first Liberty ship docked 
at one of the platforms on 9 August. 

At the shore end of the Digue a por- 
tion of the Quai Hornet was selected as 
a pierhead to accommodate the Twick- 
enham Ferry, a British train ferry spe- 
cially built to carry locomotives and roll- 
ing stock. Two berths were provided, one 
of them consisting of a "seat" which 
could accommodate a ramp lowered into 
position by the ferry, permitting rolling 
stock to roll from the ferry to the quay, 
and the other providing a site where 
locomotives could be lifted from the 
ferry to the quay by means of an over- 
head crane which was part of the vessel 
itself. The Twickenham made its first 
delivery— several 65-ton diesel electric 
locomotives and other rolling stock— on 
29 July, all of the stock being unloaded 
by means of the overhead crane. 

Early rehabilitation plans had not pro- 
vided for any substantial development 
of the arsenal area. Upon the port's cap- 
ture, however, ADSEC engineers imme- 
diately included the arsenal in their re- 
construction plan and counted on this 
area to provide at least one fourth of the 
port's total capacity. Contrasted with 
other sections of the harbor, the quay 
walls in the arsenal area were undam- 
aged, which meant that this area could 
receive ships as soon as the basins were 

demined and cleared of the many vessels 
and cranes which littered the waters. 
Additional berths were provided by con- 
structing timber trestles across the vari- 
ous openings, such as submarine and 
shipbuilding pens and drydocks, and by 
bridging boat slips with standard timber 
piling wharf to provide continuous 
quays. In this way the arsenal area even- 
tually provided berths for eleven Lib- 
erty ships and five coasters. It was 7 
September, however, before the first 
Liberty could enter the arsenal area, and 
21 September before the Bassin Charles 
X could discharge a deep-draft ship. 

Last of the port areas to come into 
operation was the Darse Transatlan- 
tique. This was the most modern and 
best-developed area of the port, but was 
also one of the most thoroughly demol- 
ished. The Gare Maritime, for example, 
was almost completely useless, and tre- 
mendous quantities of debris had to be 
removed before the adjoining quay 
could be reconstructed. Utilization of the 
Quai de France and of the Quai de Nor- 
mandie on the other side of the Darse 
entailed tremendous engineer construc- 
tion projects. At both quays reconstruc- 
tion proceeded in two phases. T-head 
ramps at Liberty hatch spacing were 
first constructed, and standard pile tim- 
ber wharf was then filled in to form con- 
tinuous quays. The full length of the 
Quai de France— 2,000 lineal feet— was 
reconstructed in this way, providing 
berths for four Liberties when com- 
pleted. At the Quai de Normandie not 
only the original quay was rebuilt, but 
the caissons of the uncompleted exten- 
sion were leveled off and the gaps 
bridged to form an additional 1,200 feet 
of quay. This work went on round the 

Seatrain Unloading a Gondola onto rail lines laid to the water's edge, 
Cherbourg, August 1944. 



clock for eleven weeks, and when com- 
pleted provided six Liberty berths. 58 

Port reconstruction, mine clearance, 
salvage, and cargo discharge had gone 
on simultaneously throughout the sum- 
mer. In the course of this work the re- 
construction plan and discharge target 
for the port had been amended still 
further* In mid-August the commander 
of the PC&R Group submitted plans 
which would have increased the port's 
capacity another 10,000 tons— from 21,- 
800 to 31,900— by the construction of a 
Phoenix pier, a fuller development of 
the arsenal, and further extensions to 
the Quai de France and Quai de Nor- 
mandie. But these projects were found 
to be infeasible for one reason or an- 
other. Early in September a less ambi- 
tious proposal was made, calling for the 
development of Cherbourg's capacity to 
26,650 tons with a minimum of addi- 
tional construction. This proposal un- 
derwent further modifications in the 
course of its examination. The principal 
feature of the plan finally adopted and 
carried out was the addition of marginal 
wharves for two Liberty ships on either 
side of the battleship drydock off the 
Quai Hornet. This was to bring the 
total capacity of the port to 28,300 tons 
through the provision of berths for 28 
Liberty ships, 14 LST's, 75 barges, 13 
coasters, 2 train ferries, and 1 tanker 
(the latter at the Digue de Querque- 
ville), 59 

Target dates had been established in 
July for bringing the various areas of 

58 Cherbourg— Gateway to France, Ch. IV, pp. 6— 
16; Cherbourg Port Reconstruction, pp. 44-130. 

56 Normandy Base Section, Engineer Section His- 
tory, p. 28; Cherbourg Port Reconstruction, p. 40. 

the port into operation, and a goal of 
20,000 tons capacity had been set for 
development by the middle of Septem- 
ber. Rehabilitation consistently fell 
short of these targets, in many cases be- 
cause of delays in mine clearance and 
removal of sunken obstacles. Operations 
at the Nouvelle Plage, for example, 
which were scheduled to begin on 9 July, 
did not get under way until a week later. 
Barges and coasters were to start dis- 
charging in the Bassin a Flot on 26 July, 
but it was 11 August before coasters 
could enter. Use of the tanker berth at 
the Digue de Querqueville was post- 
poned more than two weeks with the 
result that it was 25 July, the date of 
the breakout at St. L6, before the POL 
Major System could come into operation. 
Similarly, use of the Twickenham Ferry 
berths at the Quai Hornet began two 
weeks later than planned. 

Deep-draft cargo ship berths were the 
last to come into operation. Not until 
9 August, nineteen days later than 
planned, was the first Liberty ship berth 
—at the Digue du Hornet— ready to be- 
gin discharge. In the arsenal area it was 
another full month before Liberties 
could berth in the Bassin Napoleon III, 
and 21 September before the Bassin 
Charles X was ready. The delay in open- 
ing the Darse Transatlantique to deep- 
draft vessels illustrated most pointedly 
of all how effective the enemy's mining 
and demolitions had been in denying 
the Allies the use of the port. Plans in- 
itially called for the completion of two 
Liberty berths there by 26 July. But 
the Darse was not even clear of mines 
until 21 August, and an access channel 
was not opened until 18 September. The 



first Liberty ship finally berthed in the 
Darse on 8 October. 60 

The port fell considerably short of 
its goal of 20,000 tons by mid-Septem- 
ber. At that time the rehabilitation was 
reported 75 percent complete. But the 
uncompleted 25 percent consisted of all- 
important Liberty berthing, or "along- 
side berths," where cargo could be trans- 
ferred directly to waiting trucks or freight 
cars. Only five Liberty berths were then 
available. The port did not reach its 
projected development of 28,300 tons 
for another three months. As late as mid- 
November seven of the planned Liberty 
berths had still not opened. Planned 
facilities were essentially complete by 
15 December, but even at that date two 
berths in the Darse Transatlantique were 
not in full use because of difficulties in 
dredging to the required depth. 

The port had easily surpassed the dis- 
charge targets established before D Day. 
By the first week in August, three weeks 
after the start of operations, it was dis- 
charging approximately 6,000 tons per 
day. By mid-September it was handling 
double this volume. Port operations 
reached a plateau at that time, and for a 
full month thereafter Cherbourg's per- 
formance was uneven, at times exceed- 
ing 15,000 tons and occasionally drop- 
ping to 6,000 and 8,000. 

Despite elaborate plans and prepara- 
tions, the inauguration of discharge op- 
erations at Cherbourg, as at the beaches, 
was attended by many difficulties. Opera- 
tions went through a considerable shake- 
down period before they became routine. 
The operation of Cherbourg was the 

60 Cherbourg—Gateway to France, Ch. IV, pp. 17- 
18; Cherbourg Port Reconstruction, pp. 39, 42. 

responsibility of the 4th Major Port 
(Transportation Corps), which had op- 
erated the Mersey River ports around 
Liverpool, under the command of Colo- 
nel Sibley. It was originally intended 
that there should be a single command 
in the Cherbourg area, including the 
operation of the port and the adminis- 
tration of the surrounding area. For 
about two weeks, however, Colonel Sib- 
ley was left free to reconnoiter the port 
and organize it for discharge operations, 
and the administration of the area was 
assumed by the deputy commander of 
the Advance Section, Col. Claude H. 
Chorpening. On 11 July the original 
command plan went into effect: Colonel 
Chorpening left Cherbourg and Colo- 
nel Sibley was designated the com- 
mander of the newly created Area No. I 
of the Advance Section. This arrange- 
ment was short-lived. Because of the tre- 
mendous engineering task which lay 
ahead, the decision was made only a 
few days later to separate the functions 
of port operations and area command. 
On 21 July, as related earlier, Colonel 
Wyman took over the Cherbourg Pro- 
visional Command, Colonel Sibley re- 
verted to his more limited role as com- 
mander of the 4th Port. 61 

On 25 July Colonel Sibley's organiza- 
tion was augmented by the attachment 
of the 12th Port (Col. August H. 
Schroeder), which moved up from St. 
Vaast. Colonel Sibley used the personnel 
of this headquarters mainly to form a 
Provisional Port Troop Command Head- 
quarters to handle training, administra- 
tion, and discipline of the six port bat- 
talions and other attached units which 

Cherbourg— Gateway to France, Ch. II, pp. 4-8. 



then comprised the 4th Port organi- 
zation. 62 

The operation of a port requires the 
same high degree of synchronization and 
balancing of capacities as do other lo- 
gistic activities. All steps in tunneling 
supplies through a port are closely 
linked, and each is a potential bottle- 
neck. The lack of sufficient cranes, for 
example, can render dozens of ships idle. 
Cherbourg had its share of such hitches 
before it became a smoothly run port. 
Many of them were almost exact dupli- 
cates of the early troubles at the beaches. 

The proper co-ordination of Army 
and Navy functions, for example, was 
worked out only after considerable trial 
and error. Bringing a vessel into the port 
was a Navy responsibility, and as often 
as possible the Army's wishes were fol- 
lowed in determining a vessel's berth. 
Port officials wanted craft carrying suit- 
able dukw cargo anchored in the Petite 
Rade, for example, to avoid long hauls 
from the outer roadstead. In many cases 
shore facilities left no choice as to the 
berthing of a vessel. But communications 
and liaison were faulty at first, and port 
officers often were unaware of the arrival 
of a vessel until it was about to be 
berthed. The logical remedy was to sta- 
tion port representatives in the office of 
the Naval Harbor Master, whence in- 
formation on arriving vessels was tele- 
phoned to the appropriate port officials. 

A more basic difficulty, one which had 
also plagued operations at the beaches, 
was the lack of information as to when 
ships were to arrive and what cargo they 
carried. Such information was needed so 
that sufficient numbers of .port battalion 
personnel could be provided for hatch 

02 History of TC ETO, IV, 4th Port, 7. 

operations, so that freight cars or trucks 
could be spotted for the prompt clear- 
ance of quays, so that the proper cargo- 
handling equipment, such as cranes, 
could be provided, and so that technical 
service representatives could alert depots 
and dumps for the reception of supplies. 
Part of the difficulty arose over the fail- 
ure of manifests to arrive in time. At 
first the port normally received infor- 
mation on scheduled arrivals from the 
Advance Section. But many vessels ap- 
peared in the crowded harbor before any 
news of their arrival was received, and 
consequently no preparation for han- 
dling them was made. Shortly after dis- 
charge operations started the port re- 
fused entry to one of these "ghost" ships 
only to find that it carried top priority 
cargo. Lacking manifests and stowage 
plans, port personnel frequently had to 
board vessels to determine what they 
carried and how it was stowed. Naval 
officials, who were in direct communica- 
tion with London, were in the best posi- 
tion to have advance information on 
future arrivals. Again, but only after 
some trial and error, the problem was 
partially resolved by maintaining con- 
stant liaison with the Naval Harbor Mas- 
ter. 63 

Discharge operations were made diffi- 
cult by the initial lack of deepwater 
berths. Until such facilities were avail- 
able all ships had to anchor in the road- 
stead and discharge to lighters (dukws 
and barges) for movement to the beaches 
or the basins of the commercial port, 
where supplies were transferred to trucks 
or freight cars. Because of the double 
handling involved, such operations were 

03 Cherbourg— Gateway to France, Ch. VI, pp. 15- 
19, Ch. VII, pp. 2-3. 



costly in labor and equipment, and in 
time. Moreover, the volume of cargo 
which could be handled in this way was 
always limited. Dukws had a rated capac- 
ity of only two and one half tons, al- 
though as in the case of the 21/4-ton 
truck orders were given in mid-August 
to overload by 100 percent. 64 But the 
dukw was still suitable for only relatively 
small items and packaged goods. Barges 
had greater capacity, but could not han- 
dle the most awkward equipment. 

Lighterage operations called for the 
closest planning and supervision to make 
the best possible use of the available 
tugboats, barges, and port battalion per- 
sonnel. Dukws could go ashore at the 
Nouvelle Plage at all times, but barges 
had to be tied to stake boats in the har- 
bor and await favorable tide conditions, 
for they could be towed into the basins 
of the commercial port and later to the 
Terre Pleiri area only during a few hours 
at high tide. The control of tugs and of 
hatch operations under this type of un- 
loading was difficult, since adequate com- 
munications were initially found want- 
ing. Both the Navy's blinker system and 
the use of a shuttle boat were too slow 
and inefficient for this purpose. The an- 
swer was finally found in the use of a 
small Signal Corps radio which had been 
designed for combat but which was 
found to be excellent for the control of 
all offshore activities. Two systems were 
installed, one for the control of tugs 
and one for hatch operations. 

Lighterage operations also suffered 
more from the hazards of weather than 
did ship-to-shore discharge. Bad weather 
frequently prevented dukws and barges 
from venturing out into the harbor, and 

04 /bid., Ch. VI, p. 26. 

during one storm on 2 1 August a 30-ton 
floating crane and two car ferries, each 
with a barge, were beached by high 

All these handicaps indicated an ur- 
gent need for deepwater berths, for only 
by direct ship-to-shore operations could 
relatively uninterrupted discharge be as- 
sured and the largest volume of tonnage 
handled. 65 

A variety of other difficulties plagued 
the early operations of the port. There 
were shortages of all kinds initially— of 
tugs, barges, cranes, and of all types of 
gear. The 4th Port's gear had been 
loaded on twelve ships in the United 
Kingdom and was scheduled to be 
brought in at Cherbourg. Instead the 
vessels were sent to Utah Beach, where 
much of the heavier gear was unloaded 
and later had to be searched. Its ar- 
rival in Cherbourg was delayed consider- 
ably. Hatch crews repeatedly lacked 
ropes, slings, nets, or other unloading 
gear. In an effort to keep them supplied, 
three dukws cruised about the harbor at 
first, taking gear from vessel to vessel. 
Much of the equipment was lost when 
ships left the port without returning it. 

Most serious of the equipment prob- 
lems was the shortage of cranes. Crane 
operation had been handled largely by 
civilian workers in the United Kingdom, 
and inadequate numbers of military per- 
sonnel had been trained for the con- 
tinental ports. An intensive training pro- 
gram had to be initiated on the spot, 
conducted by two sergeants who had had 
experience in the United Kingdom. Op- 
eration of the cranes by inexperienced 
workers took its toll in damaged equip- 

m Cherbourg— Gateway to France, Ch. VI, pp. 1-5, 
n, 18. 



ment, just as it did in the case of motor 
transport operations, and the shortage of 
spare parts and skilled mechanics con- 
tributed to the prolonged deadlining of 
equipment. In this way, for example, a 
$15,000 Koehring crane vitally needed in 
port operations was deadlined for three 
weeks because of a broken water pump 
valued at $2.00. At times as many as 
half of all the assigned cranes were in- 
operative from such causes. 66 

Achieving a satisfactory discharge rate 
was only half the problem at Cherbourg. 
At least equally important in the long 
run was the problem of port clearance, 
for it was this aspect of Cherbourg's op- 
erations which proved to be the factor 
preventing the maximum utilization of 
the port's intake capacity. In one sense 
a port represents the narrow neck of an 
hourglass. Thousands of tons of supply 
converge upon it from the sea and must 
be passed through this defile and then 
distributed to dumps and depots. Within 
the port itself two principal operations 
are involved— the unloading of ships and 
the loading of freight cars and trucks. 
Adequate discharge facilities must be 
available if the maximum tonnage is to 
be received and if ships are to be emptied 
promptly and not allowed to stand idle 
in the harbor. Equally vital, however, 
are the complementary facilities re- 
quired to dispatch cargo from the port 
in order to keep quays clear. Essentially 
this means that ample transportation 
must be available, and an adequate depot 
structure provided to receive the cargo. 

It was desirable that clearance be ac- 

60 History of TC ETO, IV, 4th Port, 5, V, 4th 
Port, 4; Cherbourg—Gateway to France, Ch. VI, p. 
23, Ch. VII, pp. 10-11. 

complished by rail, for rail transport was 
more economical than motor transport 
and capable of handling much larger 
tonnages. Plans had of course been made 
to rehabilitate the existing railway fa- 
cilities at Cherbourg. Damage to them 
had been fairly extensive, but no greater 
than expected. Just south of the city a 
400-foot tunnel on the main Cherbourg- 
Paris trunk line had been blown shut, 
and between this tunnel and the Gare 
de TEtat in the city the switches and 
frogs had been systematically destroyed. 
A roundhouse just south of Cherbourg 
was also largely demolished, mainly as 
the result of friendly artillery fire. 

Within the port itself there were only 
about fifteen miles of trackage, branch- 
ing out from the Gare de l'Etat to serve 
the Digue du Hornet, the arsenal area, 
the Gare Maritime, the Amiot Aircraft 
Works, and the Bassin a Flot. The worst 
damage was evident at the Gare Mari- 
time, in the arsenal, and in the area of 
the aircraft works. 

All these facilities were required for 
the clearance of the port, and rehabili- 
tation began immediately. But the de- 
cision to double Cherbourg's intake ca- 
pacity made it apparent that the existing 
rail complex would be far from ade- 
quate. Additional lines were needed at 
the new quays which were being con- 
structed, so that discharge could be di- 
rectly from ship to rail car, and the 
capacity of storage and marshaling yards 
had to be greatly expanded to handle 
the tremendous volume of rail traffic. 
Cherbourg was not equipped for large- 
scale freight handling operations. Just as 
new discharge facilities had to be de- 
veloped, therefore, a sizable railway con- 
struction program had to be undertaken. 



New construction and the restoration 
of the existing system were carried 
on simultaneously. Existing facilities 
were augmented considerably in several 
places, as for example in the yards be- 
tween the tunnel and the Gare de l'Etat, 
where 1 1,500 feet of new track were laid, 
and along the Digue du Hornet, where 
three lines were extended the entire 
length of the mole. Additional trackage 
was also built along the barge wharves 
in the Terre Plein area, and along two 
sides of the Bassin a Flot. In the arsenal 
area a considerable augmentation of ex- 
isting facilities was carried out by the 
construction of lines to the inner quays, 
and by the construction of additional 

The most urgent need created by the 
new tonnage target was for storage and 
marshaling yard capacity. At the time 
of its capture Cherbourg possessed stor- 
age capacity for only 350 cars, and a 
marshaling yard capacity of only 400. 
Brig. Gen. Clarence L. Burpee, Director 
General of the 2d Military Railway Serv- 
ice, estimated that the projected daily 
discharge of 20,000 tons would require 
the loading of 2,000 freight cars per day. 
Since a two-day supply of empty cars 
was required on hand at all times, 4,000 
cars would be required. Storage facilities 
for 4,000 cars and marshaling yard fa- 
cilities for 2,000 cars were therefore re- 
quired to clear 20,000 tons of freight 
from the port each day. 

Transportation Corps officials pro- 
posed to meet part of this need by ex- 
panding existing yards. But the larger 
part of the requirement had to be met 
by new construction. Plans now called 
for the building of three new yards, one 
at the Terre Plein with a capacity of 

about 700 cars, one at Couville, six miles 
south of the port, with a capacity of 
1,400 cars, and another at Sottevast, five 
miles farther south on the main rail 
line, capable of holding 2 ,600 cars. 
All together, these projected expansions 
were to provide a gross storage capacity 
of about 4,600 cars and marshaling facili- 
ties for nearly 2,700. 

Construction of the Couville and 
Sottevast yards was undertaken largely 
at the insistence of Maj. Gen. Frank S. 
Ross and was among the most ambitious 
construction projects undertaken by en- 
gineers in the Normandy area. The Cou- 
ville installation was to be a true mar- 
shaling and classification yard, where 
trains were made up and given track 
clearance for the eastward run. The fa- 
cilities there were entirely of new con- 
struction and involved a tremendous 
earth-moving job— 287,000 cubic yards 
of cut, and 177,000 yards for a seventy- 
foot fill. The heavy equipment needed 
for the task was lacking when construc- 
tion began on 2 August. But the project 
had high priority, and the urgency of the 
job was further emphasized after 20 
August when a heavy rain revealed how 
easily the entire area could be trans- 
formed into a quagmire. Every effort 
was therefore made to augment the or- 
ganic equipment of the engineer general 
service regiment assigned the task, and 
work was stepped up, including the op- 
eration of a night shift. Mud produced 
by autumn rains also forced a change in 
plans for ballasting the tracks and made 
it necessary to open a rock quarry, re- 
pair its machinery, and haul hundreds of 
carloads of crushed rock to stabilize rail 
beds. The first yard at Couville was com- 
pleted on 18 September, and received the 



first train five days later. On 3 Novem- 
ber, three months after work had begun, 
the engineers turned over the completed 
project to the Transportation Corps. 
More than 780,000 man-hours of labor 
eventually went into the project, which 
comprised 16 miles of track and had a 
capacity of 1,740 cars, considerably more 
than originally planned. 

The Sottevast yard, a few miles farther 
south, involved an even greater expendi- 
ture of effort. This yard was intended 
primarily as a storage and classification 
yard for empty cars, which could be dis- 
patched to Cherbourg on call. Construc- 
tion started on 15 August and continued 
until 12 December, although a portion 
of the facilities was ready for use in mid- 
October. Work on the Sottevast project 
was carried on under much the same 
conditions as at Couville. The major 
handicap was the heavy rains, which at 
one time inundated portions of the area 
to a depth of eighteen inches and neces- 
sitated extensive rock ballasting. 67 More 
than 2,000 men, including several com- 
panies of prisoners, were employed on 
this project in mid-November, and up- 
wards of 1,300,000 man-hours went into 
it. The requirement for marshaling fa- 
cilities had already declined somewhat 
by early December, and the original 

67 Similar difficulties arose at the small marshaling 
yard built to serve Omaha Beach. The site of this 
yard, along the main rail line between Lison Junc- 
tion and Bayeux, was extremely low and difficult to 
drain. September rains reduced this area to a quag- 
mire before proper ballasting could be accom- 
plished, with the result that the rails gradually 
sank into the mud, and access roads almost disap- 
peared. Derailments consequently became frequent, 
a record twenty-one occurring in one eight-hour 
period. Normandy Base Section, Engineer Section 
History, pp. 24-25; Normandy Base Section Trans- 
portation Corps History, pp. 20-21. 

plans for the yard were therefore 
modified somewhat. When construction 
stopped in mid-December the yard con- 
tained eighteen miles of track and had 
a capacity of 2,280 cars. 68 

Until these facilities were ready, clear- 
ance capacity was a serious limiting fac- 
tor in developing the maximum flow of 
cargo through the port of Cherbourg. 
As long as U.S. forces were confined to 
a small Normandy bridgehead, and 
dumps and depots were within easy 
reach of the port, motor transport was 
of course the more efficient means of 
clearance. But the railways eventually 
were expected to handle the bulk of the 
tonnage. It was hoped at first that 60 
percent of the cargo could be shipped 
by rail by early August, and by mid- 
September approximately 88 percent— 
or 17,500 of the 20,000 tons discharged 
each day. 

These targets could not be met. In 
the first week of August less than 1 o per- 
cent of the cargo was being dispatched 
by rail. 69 In mid-August the Transporta- 
tion Corps was called on to make emer- 
gency shipments totaling 25,600 tons via 
rail to the Le Mans area for the Third 
Army. At the close of the month even 
larger shipments were ordered to the 
Chartres area. These demands put a tre- 
mendous strain on the available supply 
of both locomotives and freight cars and 
left little rolling stock for port clear- 

68 Normandy Base Section, Engineer Section His- 
tory, p. 25; History of the Couville and Sottevast 
Marshaling Yards, App. XIV of Normandy Base 
Section History; Normandy Base Section, Trans- 
portation Corps History, p. 21; History of TC ETO, 
IV, 4th Port, 9-1 o, and V, 4th Port, 12. 

^History of TC ETO,< IV, 4th Port, 18; Cher- 
bourg—Gateway to France, Ch. VII, pp. 15-16. 



ance. 70 For the entire month of August 
clearance by rail consequently accounted 
for only 38 percent of the total tonnage 
moved inland from the port. 71 

Port clearance continued to bear the 
main sacrifice imposed by the greater 
urgency of long-distance hauling. Far 
from getting motor transport to compen- 
sate for the inadequate rail capacity, port 
clearance actually lost trucks to line-of- 
communications hauling. By the end of 
August only three companies remained 
against a requirement for five or six 
times this number. By the end of August 
the quays at Cherbourg were piled high 
with cargo which could not be moved, 
averaging upwards of 70,000 tons. To 
relieve the congestion several of the 
services were authorized to establish tem- 
porary subdepots or dumps at the Terre 
Plein. 72 

Difficulties at the depots contributed 
to the port clearance problem. The 
depots were rarely ideally located or 
equipped to receive cargo. Many were 
established in open fields, which became 
muddy in rainy weather; many lacked 
trucks for internal movements, and also 

Lacking transportation, the depots fre- 
quently insisted that trucks from Cher- 
bourg distribute cargo at several unload- 
ing points, thus delaying their return to 
the port. On 1 August the port began 
round-the-clock operations. Some depots, 
lacking either lighting facilities or ade- 
quate personnel, were slow to adopt the 
twenty-four-hour schedule and thus con- 

70 Cherbourg— Gateway to France, Ch. VI, pp. 16- 

"History of TC ETO, IV, 4th Port, 22. 
"History of TC ETO, IV, 4th Port, 22; Cher- 
bourg—Gateway to France, Ch. VII, pp. 17, 21-22. 

tributed further to the delay in releasing 
transportation. Depot locations were fre- 
quently changed, and the services did 
not always give the port prompt notifica- 
tion, with the result that drivers at times 
returned to the port with fully loaded 
trucks after searching unsuccessfully for 
their proper destinations. 

A common complaint, heard fre- 
quently during the pursuit, arose from 
the practice of ordering drivers after they 
had arrived at their designated destina- 
tions to deliver their loads to another 
location farther forward* From the point 
of view of port clearance this naturally 
aggravated the transportation situation. 73 

Port clearance continued to be the 
limiting factor at Cherbourg for some 
time, mitigating to some extent the fail- 
ure to meet discharge goals. The port 
failed by about 8,000 tons to meet the 
discharge target of 20,000 tons per day 
by mid-September. Colonel Sibley, the 
4th Port commander, had expressed 
doubt in July that Cherbourg could 
meet the higher tonnage targets estab- 
lished at that time. He cited in particu- 
lar the difficulties over mine clearance 
and obstacle removal, and the probable 
inadequacies of the rail system, especially 
the shortage of rolling stock, which he 
thought would probably delay the maxi- 
mum development of the port's capac- 
ity. 74 Unfortunately these fears were 
largely substantiated. 

The seriousness of Cherbourg's de- 
ficiencies was increasingly highlighted by 
the delay in bringing Antwerp into use, 
and by the declining performance at the 

"History of TC ETO, V, 4th Port, n; Cherbourg 
—Gateway to France, Ch. VII, pp. 20-23. 
74 Cherbourg— Gateway to France, Ch. I, p. 18. 



beaches, which became a wasting asset 
in October. Cherbourg, it must be re- 
membered, was the only major deep- 
water port which the Allies possessed 
in operating condition at the time. By 
the end of September its disappointing 
performance became of sufficient con- 
cern to attract the attention of higher 
echelons in the theater, and led to some 
reorganization of the port. On 29 Sep- 
tember Colonel Sibley was relieved of 
command of the 4th Port and was suc- 
ceeded by Col. James A. Crothers. 75 

The new commander promptly sub- 
mitted a request to Normandy Base Sec- 
tion for additional personnel and for 
more rolling stock, which he regarded 
as the two principal deficiencies. The 
main troop requirements listed were 
twelve port companies; an engineer gen- 
eral service company trained to operate 
cranes, derricks, and other equipment; 
additional prisoners of war to handle 
tonnage at quayside; and a battalion of 
infantry to guard prisoners. He asked 
for 1,310 freight cars per day, sufficient 
to clear 17,000 tons per day. Another 
4,000 tons, he estimated, could be moved 
to local dumps and depots via motor 
transport, and 3,000 tons, consisting of 
vehicles, would move out on their own 
power. Additional cargo-handling equip- 

75 History of TC ETO, V, 4th Port 1. Colonel 
Sibley was relieved by Col Benjamin B. Talley, who 
commanded Normandy Base Section during Colonel 
Wyman's temporary absence. There was some dis- 
agreement over the justification for the relief. Colo- 
nel Talley himself regarded Sibley as an able officer 
although unsuited for the kind of organization re- 
quired at Cherbourg, and agreed that he be relieved 
without prejudice. General Ross expressed his con- 
fidence in Sibley by giving him an important as- 
signment in the U.K. Base Section. Interv with 
Talley, 6 Mar 51, and Ltr, Ross to Harold Larson, 
22 Jan 51, OCMH. 

ment, such as nets and slings, was also 
requested. With this additional comple- 
ment of personnel and equipment Colo- 
nel Crothers believed that Cherbourg 
could work forty-four ships simultane- 
ously/ 6 each averaging 500 tons per day 
for a total of 22,000 tons. This tonnage, 
along with another 2,000 tons brought 
in via LST's and car ferries, would en- 
able the port to unload and clear 24,000 
tons, which the Communications Zone 
had recently established as the new tar- 
get. 77 

Meanwhile officers from both SHAEF 
and the Communications Zone arrived 
to investigate. All of them found much 
that needed correction or improvement. 
The SHAEF G-4 representatives— Capt. 
L. A. Thackrey of the U.S. Navy and 
Col. N. H. Vissering— concluded that 
neither the port's facilities nor its labor 
force were being used to best advantage. 
Unloading personnel, for example, were 
working twelve-hour shifts, and morale 
was suffering accordingly. Port headquar- 
ters and port companies were composed 
almost wholly of inexperienced and in- 
adequately trained men. Almost without 
fail, it seemed, once units had learned 
their job they would be transferred else- 
where, leaving the port with untrained 
labor. Port companies generally suffered 
from poor supervision, and the lack of 
supervisory personnel in turn was the 
main deterrent against changing to eight- 
hour shifts. Furthermore, none of the 
port companies then employed at Cher- 
bourg had their full allowances of per- 

76 Twenty-three at quays, 4 working dukws, 12 
working barges, and 5 coasters discharging coal. 

" Ltr, Crothers to CG Normandy Base Sec, sub: 
Additional Requirements, Port of Cherbourg, 3 Oct 
44, EUCOM 800 Rivers, Harbors, and Waterways, I. 



sonnel, with the result that there were 
not enough hatch gangs in operation. 78 

In addition to noting personnel de- 
ficiencies, both SHAEF and COMZ ob- 
servers felt that the facilities of the port 
were not being efficiently utilized. Col. 
W. E. Potter, logistic planner from the 
Communications Zone, observed that 
there was considerable misuse of quay- 
age. Engineer Class IV ships, for exam- 
ple, were being discharged at the con- 
venient Quai de Normandie, while high 
priority cargo like ammunition was be- 
ing unloaded at less suitable basin quays, 
which were difficult to work by rail. A 
few days of good weather invariably 
brought congestion on the quays. Plan- 
ning had also been deficient, particularly 
in minor details. Even standing operat- 
ing procedures were lacking on certain 
functions which might have been re- 
duced to routine, such as the provision 
of empty cars at loading sites. 79 

One of the principal bottlenecks 
which all the inspections recognized was 
the lack of adequate rolling stock needed 
to clear the port. But this deficiency, 
in the view of observers, was needlessly 
aggravated by poor co-ordination be- 
tween port authorities and the railways 
in providing the proper types and num- 
bers of cars for loading, and by ineffi- 
cient operations at the depots, where the 
excessive time required to unload trucks 

"Memo, Thackrey for G-4 SHAEF, sub: Port 
Discharge Conditions at Cherbourg Which Can Be 
Improved: Recommendations Regarding Their Im- 
provement, 9 Oct 44, EUCOM 800 Rivers, Harbors, 
and Waterways, I. 

78 Ibid.; Col W. E. Potter, Report of Inspection of 
Cherbourg, 23 Oct 44, EUCOM 800, Rivers, Har- 
bors, and Waterways, I; COMZ G-4 Br Chief's Mtg, 
24 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C. 

resulted in exorbitantly long turn- 
arounds. 80 

Magnifying the entire clearance prob- 
lem, meanwhile, was the fact that depots 
in the Cherbourg area were carrying on 
retail supply operations. Requisitions 
from the armies and even subordinate 
headquarters were being filled in detail 
from dumps and depots in the Cher- 
bourg area, entailing much sorting and 
switching of freight cars and segregation 
of small loads, thus adding to the al- 
ready overtaxed facilities of the port area 
and contributing to the congestion there. 
Base areas were not intended to carry 
on retail issue, except on a small scale 
to units located in the immediate vicin- 
ity. This was another of the unorthodox 
practices forced on the Communications 
Zone in the pursuit period, when lack 
of forward depots left no choice but to 
fill requisitions directly from base dumps 
and depots. The port area was ill- 
equipped for such operations, and it 
was imperative that its operations be 
limited to wholesale supply, so that com- 
plete train loads of various classes of 
supply could be dispatched to depots 
farther forward in the Communications 
Zone. 81 

The SHAEF representatives who vis- 
ited the port early in October concurred 
in general with the new port com- 
mander's request for additional troops 
and equipment. General Ross, the chief 
of transportation, immediately took steps 

80 Potter, Rpt of Inspection, 23 Oct 44, and Memo, 
Thackrey for SHAEF G-4, 9 Oct 44. 

81 Memo, sub: Cherbourg, 20 Oct 44, attached to 
Ltr, Rear Adm Alan G. Kirk to Smith, 21 Oct 44, 
SHAEF SGS 800 Harbors, Opening, Use, Construc- 



to send eighteen additional port com- 
panies to Cherbourg. 82 But the SHAEF 
representatives were frankly skeptical 
over the prospects that the port would 
soon perform at the rate which Colonel 
Crothers had predicted. Captain Thack- 
rey pointed out that the port had never 
worked more than eighteen ships at a 
time despite the fact that there were 
berths for thirty-five, and that only half 
of them had averaged 400 tons on a 
single day. Furthermore, he confirmed 
what had been suspected earlier, that 
the discharge figures for September, 
which averaged 10,000 tons per day, had 
included about 4,000 tons of coal and 
railway rolling stock. The actual dead- 
weight cargo discharged had averaged 
only about 6,000 tons. 83 Such figures, 
as SHAEF logistic planners had pointed 
out earlier, were worse than useless un- 
less carefully interpreted. 84 Regarding 
clearance capabilities, Captain Thackrey 
estimated that between 8,000 and 9,000 
freight cars would have to be put into 
service between the forward depots and 
Cherbourg in order to provide the 1,300 
cars needed at the port each day. He 
doubted that this number could be made 
available before the beginning of De- 
cember. He was not very hopeful, there- 
fore, that the port could achieve either 
discharge or clearance of 24,000 tons. 
With the additional hatch gangs then 
being organized, and with additional 
supervisory personnel and trucks, he be- 
lieved that discharge and clearance could 

82 [E. Cutts] American Port Plans, August to No- 
vember, 1944* p. 16. 

"Memo, Thackrey for SHAEF G-4, 9 Oct 44; 
COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications Diary /Jnl, 
4 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C. 

84 Memo, Whipple for Current Opns Br, sub: Ping 
Factors, 1 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 Supplies General, 

be raised to about 15,000 tons per day 
by the end of October. 85 

This estimate actually proved the 
more realistic, for Cherbourg's discharge 
rate at the end of October was averaging 
only 13,000 to 14,000 tons per day. Its 
performance had been highly erratic 
throughout the month, averaging only 
11,750 tons. This was partly attributable 
to bad weather, for high winds and 
rough seas repeatedly hampered or com- 
pletely suspended barge, dukw, LST, 
and even crane operations. The shortage 
of freight cars also held up unloading at 
times. 86 

Cherbourg was hardly less important 
to the Allies at the end of October than 
it had been a month earlier, even though 
Le Havre and Rouen had been opened 
in the meantime. Continued efforts were 
therefore made to eliminate the deficien- 
cies which prevented it from realizing 
its maximum potential performance. 
At the very end of the month an 
organizational problem which had been 
recognized for some time but gone un- 
remedied, was finally solved. General 
Stratton, the COMZ G-4, had called 
attention early in October to a defect 
in command organization which he con- 
sidered to be at the very root of the diffi- 
culties at Cherbourg. In his view too 
many people were interfering with the 
port commander, who, in a sense, had 
come to have the position of a mere 
executive to the base section commander, 
located in the same city. 87 Essentially, 
the difficulty lay in the Normandy Base 

M Memo, Thackrey for G-4 SHAEF, 9 Oct 44. 

M SHAEF G-4 Weekly Logistical Summaries, Oct, 
Nov 44, SHAEF G-4 War. Diary /Jnl, Oct, Nov, 

81 COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications Diary/ 
Jnl, 4 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C. 



Section's retention of control over rail 
operations, with the result that the port 
commander was unable to exercise the 
centralized control necessary to co-ordi- 
nate all the functions involved in passing 
cargo through the port. 

This situation was finally remedied 
in the first week of November, after a 
change in command. On 30 October 
Colonel Wyman was relieved as com- 
mander of Normandy Base Section and 
was succeeded by General Clay, 88 who 
came to the theater on loan from the 
Army Service Forces on the Supreme 
Commander's request. General Clay 
quickly recognized the defect described 
above and granted the port commander 
the authority he needed. 89 The first im- 
portant change occurred with the trans- 
fer of control of all rail movements in- 
volved in the clearance of the port. This 
entailed the control of railway opera- 
tions only as far south as the Couville 
and Sottevast yards, but it now gave the 
port Commander the authority he had 
previously lacked to co-ordinate all the 
functions connected with discharge and 
clearance. 90 

These changes undoubtedly accounted 
at least in part for the prompt improve- 
ment in Cherbourg's performance. Un- 
loadings averaged 14,600 tons per day 
in the first week of November, and in 
the third week the port achieved its best 
performance with an average discharge 

88 History of Normandy Base Section, p. 12. 

89 Lucius D. Clay, Decision in Germany (Garden 
City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1950), p. 2. Gen- 
eral Clay commanded the base section barely four 
weeks, for on 26 November he was given a new as- 
signment by General Eisenhower. Col. Eugene M. 
Caffey commanded the base section pending the 
arrival of General Aurand on 17 December. 

90 History of TC ETO, V, 4th Port, 12. 

of 15,600 tons. November proved to be 
Cherbourg's best month, averaging about 
14,300 tons per day. Meanwhile clear- 
ance operations also showed remarkable 
improvement, averaging 12,930 tons in 

Cherbourg had hardly achieved this 
increased efficiency when its importance 
began to decline. The opening of other 
ports, notably Antwerp at the end of 
November, relieved Cherbourg of the 
heavy responsibility it had had for many 
weeks. It was logical of course that rail- 
way rolling stock, of which there was 
a never-ending shortage, should not be 
tied up in hauls of more than 400 miles 
when it could be used to so much better 
advantage on the shorter hauls from Le 
Havre and Antwerp. Beginning in De- 
cember, therefore, Cherbourg's discharge 
targets were gradually lowered, first to 
12,000 tons, and in the middle of the 
month to 7,000 tons per day. 91 For the 
next two months unloading actually 
averaged about 8,200 tons per day. 

Efforts to improve the efficiency of 
the port continued to be made. On 2 
December, for example, port operations 
were organized into two ten-hour shifts 
in place of the twelve-hour shifts pre- 
viously in effect. Port clearance, the most 
persistent limiting factor, continued to 
be given close attention. But all projects 
for the physical improvement of the 
port, such as laying additional track and 
salvaging berths, and construction at 
Sottevast, were canceled. 

Before the end of the year Cherbourg 
lost both personnel and equipment to 
other ports. 92 By the end of December, 

Cherbourg— Gateway to France, Ch. X, p. 3. 
History of TC ETO, V, 4th Port, 25-26. 



for example, thirty-nine crawler cranes, 
eight port companies, a dukw company, 
and a harborcraft company were being 
transferred. Truck and trailer compa- 
nies were also being released, the need for 
vehicles having diminished as the rail- 
ways accounted for a larger and larger 
percentage of total clearance. The labor 
force employed dropped from the No- 
vember average of 5,300 to 2,900 in the 
case of port battalion personnel (mostly 
hatch gangs), from 1,000 to less than 800 
in the case of civilian workers, and from 
3,800 to 3,600 in the case of prisoners 
of war. 93 

Cherbourg's usefulness by no means 
came to an end in December but it was 
never again to operate at full capacity. 
The port never met its goal of 24,000 or 
even 20,000 tons, although it approxi- 
mated the earlier target on one day— 
4 November— when 19,955 tons were dis- 
charged. But the emphasis given above 
to Cherbourg's endless difficulties and 
shortcomings need not obscure the sig- 
nificance of its accomplishment. Orig- 
inally scheduled to develop a capacity 
of less than 9,000 tons and to provide 
but a fraction of the total port needs, 
Cherbourg in November alone averaged 
14,300 tons per day and received a total 
of more than 430,000 tons of cargo. 94 
For many weeks it handled fully 50 per- 
cent of all the U.S. tonnage brought to 
the Continent. As the only major deep- 
watei: port available in the period of the 
greatest logistic stress, Cherbourg there- 
fore served as the mainstay of the entire 
continental port system through which 
the American forces were nourished. 

n Ibi d„V. Ath Port, 25. 

M Sec [Table 4|p. 134, below. 

(4) The Brittany Area 

Ironically, the ports which U.S. forces 
had counted on so heavily in the Brit- 
tany area— that is, Brest, Quiberon Bay, 
Lorient, and St. Malo— were never put 
to use, and the only ports that proved 
of value were those which had either 
never been considered or had been elim- 
inated from the Overlord plan after 
brief consideration. 

As indicated earlier, enthusiasm for 
development of the Brittany area fluc- 
tuated with the prospects of opening 
the Seine ports and Antwerp. After the 
review of the entire port situation in 
mid-September General Lee had decided 
to go ahead with the development of 
three of the five smaller Brittany ports— 
St. Brieuc, Granville, and Morlaix. Can- 
cale offered little more than an anchor- 
age, and was dropped from plans be- 
cause of bad tidal conditions. St. Malo 
at first appeared to offer fair prospects, 
and rehabilitation of the port had actu- 
ally begun late in August. But damage 
was extensive and, late in September, 
on the basis of a discouraging report on 
the condition of the St. Malo-Rennes 
canal, it was decided that the return 
would not warrant the effort required to 
restore the port. Work was discontin- 
ued, therefore, and on 21 November 
St. Malo was turned back to the French. 95 

The first of this group of ports to be 
uncovered after the breakout at the end 
of July was Granville. Geographically, 
Granville is not part of Brittany, but its 
consideration here is logical both be- 
cause of the date of its capture and be- 
cause it was customarily grouped with 

fl(l History of TC ETO, Ch. IV, 5th Port, pp. 1-5; 
[Cutts] American Port Plans, pp. 7-9. 



the other small Brittany ports in plans 
after mid-July. Granville was mainly a 
fishing port in peacetime; like Cher- 
bourg, it had little importance as a 
freight handler, its prewar intake aver- 
aging less than 60,000 tons per year. It 
was a completely artificial port, its har- 
bor consisting of two basins— an outer 
tidal basin known as the Avant Port, 
and an inner wet basin, the Bassin a Flot 
—formed by two jetties and a mole. A 
locked channel 223 feet long connected 
the two basins. The Bassin a Flot could 
maintain a water depth of nineteen feet 
by means of the locks, had quays with 
cranage facilities all around, and offered 
quayside accommodations for vessels up 
to 4,000 tons. Pre-D-Day plans called for 
developing a capacity of approximately 
2,500 tons per day. 

Granville was captured on 30 July, 
five weeks later than scheduled. A recon- 
naissance party representing the ADSEC 
Engineer, the 1055th PC&R Group, and 
the 1 ith Port, which was to operate 
Granville, immediately surveyed the 
port. As expected, they found it badly 
damaged. The gates of the lock channel 
had been totally destroyed and the chan- 
nel itself blocked by about 7,000 cubic 
yards of masonry blown into it from the 
walls. Seven traveling cranes around the 
Bassin a Flot had been destroyed and 
some of the wreckage toppled into the 
basin. Craters had been blown in both 
jetties forming the basins, and all berths 
in the two basins were obstructed by 
damaged tugs, barges, and other craft. 
Finally, all cargo-handling facilities and 
rail spurs had been rendered useless. 
Nevertheless it was concluded that the 
port could provide sixteen coaster berths 

and sufficient unloading facilities to han- 
dle 5,000 tons, double the earlier esti- 
mate. Plans were made to make Gran- 
ville the number one coal port on the 
Continent. 96 

The 1055th PC&R Group initiated 
work at Granville on 3 August by clear- 
ing the debris from the streets and start- 
ing the repair of the craters in the west- 
ernmost jetty forming the Avant Port. 
On 12 August Normandy Base Section 
relieved the Advance Section of respon- 
sibility at Granville, and two weeks later 
the 1058th PC&R Group replaced the 
1055th. Clearing the lock channel and 
stabilizing its torn walls proved one of 
the largest projects. No attempt was 
made to repair the lock gates, but the 
channel itself had to be cleared to permit 
the passage of vessels into the Bassin a 
Flot, which was to be utilized as a drying 
basin like the Avant Port. The enemy 
had blown five tremendous craters in the 
massive granite block retaining walls 
which in some places reached to the very 
channel floor. The channel was choked 
with masonry and clay backfill from these 
demolitions, and the removal of this 
debris was a time-consuming task, for 
tidal conditions made it impossible to 
work more than about six hours each 
day in the basins. The task required ap- 
proximately seven weeks, after which 
there still remained the job of stabilizing 
the channel's ruptured retaining walls. 
Parts of the wall were rebuilt with rub- 
ble masonry; the remainder was repaired 
by building sandbag revetments. Be- 
cause of the strong current which the 

M Port of Granville History, Annex A to Nor- 
mandy Base Section, Engineer Section History, pp. 
1-4, ETO Adm 596. 



LST's Discharging Cargo on the Beach at St. Michel-en-Greve, near Morlaix, 
5 September 1944. 

ebb and flow of the tide caused in the 
channel, it was also necessary to line 
the channel with timber fenders to pro- 
vide stout bumpers as protection against 
vessels moving along the channel. Tidal 
conditions restricted this work to a few 
hours a day. 

At the same time engineers had begun 
to clear berths and construct cargo-han- 
dling facilities in both the outer and 
inner basins. Sunken vessels did not 
present a great problem; they were sim- 
ply patched at low tide, pumped out, 
and then floated on the high tide and 
towed out. The biggest problems in the 
Avant Port were the removal of debris 
from the craters blown in the jetties 
which enclosed the harbor, and the re- 
pair of the craters themselves. The whole 
basin was littered with the debris from 
these demolitions, which had to be re- 
moved because of the danger of punc- 
turing the hulls of vessels as they settled 

down on the harbor floor with the reced- 
ing tide. Repair of the craters presented 
problems similar to those in the lock 
channel. Work initially was restricted 
to periods of low tide, and on stormy 
days the high tide frequently washed out 
the preceding day's progress. 

Meanwhile engineers also repaired 
existing rail tacilities and laid additional 
track to serve berths in the western part 
of the harbor, and finally installed light- 
ing facilities along the quays and at the 
Granville railhead to make night opera- 
tions possible. Rehabilitation of the port 
was finally completed on 6 November, 
by which time sixteen coaster berths had 
been provided, as planned, offering a 
discharge capacity of 5,000 tons per day. 
More than 363,000 man-hours of work 
went into developing the port to this 
capacity. 97 

97 Ibid., pp. 4-13; Normandy Base Section, En- 
gineer Section History, p. 27. 



As was the case at all the ports re- 
stored, the reception of cargo at Gran- 
ville did not await the final completion 
o£ all construction projects. Four berths 
were ready by 15 September and on that 
date the first coaster— a Swedish vessel- 
entered the port, 98 Coal deliveries were 
rather insignificant at first, partly be- 
cause the better berths in the inner basin 
were not ready, but chiefly because ves- 
sels had not been dispatched to the port 
owing to draft limitations." Discharge 
began to average about 1,000 tons per day 
toward the end of October after the 
opening of additional berths in the Bas- 
sin a Flot. 100 But stormy weather that 
month kept coaster sailings down and 
prevented the port from coming any- 
where near realizing its 3,000-ton poten- 
tial. 101 

The inability to utilize Granville's 
facilities for coal reception more fully 
led to the suggestion that other types of 
cargo be sent to the port. It was esti- 
mated that beaching, storage, and rail 
facilities were such that about 6,000 
tons of general cargo could be handled 
there without interfering with the dis- 
charge of coal. But other ports already 
existed farther forward on the line of 
communications— Rouen, for example— 
which could receive all the available 
coaster shipping. Consequently there was 

98 Port of Granville History, p. 9, and Figure 38. 

OT Min, Mtg on Port Situation with Co£S COMZ, 
G-4, TC, et al, 13 Oct 44, G-4 Plant and Com- 
munications Diary /Jnl, ETO Adm 145C. 

100 At that time the 11th Port headquarters moved 
to Rouen and the operation of Granville was turned 
over to the 4th Port. History of TC ETO, V, 4th 
Port, 9, and 11th Port, 1. 

101 G-4 Plant and Communications Diary /Jnl, s6 
Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C. 

little point in using Granville for any 
other purpose than coal. 102 

Maintenance of equipment was a 
never-ending problem at Granville, in 
part because of a lack of skilled labor, 
in part because of the lack of tools. This 
problem, plus the difficulties that bad 
weather created in bringing vessels into 
the shallow harbor, kept the port's per- 
formance disappointingly low. 103 Gran- 
ville occasionally topped the 3,000-ton 
mark, but its average discharge rate from 
the time of its opening to the end of 
January 1945 was under 1,300 tons per 

The first cargo discharged in Brittany 
was brought in via open beaches at St. 
Michel-en-Greve, near Morlaix. The dis- 
charge of cargo there was purely an im- 
provisation to meet an emergency re- 
quirement for supplies for the VIII 
Corps in its operations against Brest. 
Representatives of the 16th Port, which 
had been designated to operate the Brit- 
tany ports, had followed closely on the 
heels of the advancing forces in the 
peninsula early in August to reconnoiter 
all the port facilities along the northern 
coast. They found St. Michel suitable 
as a landing beach, and, lacking usable 
port facilities, immediately made plans 
to bring LST's in at this point. 

The first three LST's arrived on 11 
August, and unloading began on the 
afternoon of the 12th under the proper 
tidal conditions. A shortage of trucks 

102 Ltr, Col John H. Judd, QM Normandy Base 
Sec, to CO Normandy Base Sec, sub: Full Utilization 
of Granville as a Port, 24 Oct 44, with Inds Nor- 
mandy Base Sec and Hq ETO, .8 Nov 44, EUCOM 
800 Rivers, Harbors, and Waterways, 1. 

103 CAO Mtgs, 14 and 17 Nov 44, SHAEF AG 337- 
14; History of TC ETO, V, 4th Port, 9-10. 



Crane Lifting a Lock Gate from the water at Morlaix, 23 August 1944. 
Engineers watching the operation are from the io$yth PC&R Group. 

halted operations temporarily, but un- 
loading resumed with the arrival of addi- 
tional transport from the VIII Corps, 
and the discharge of 1,500 tons of ra- 
tions, POL, and ammunition was com- 
pleted on the following day. After a 
lapse of a few days LST's began to ar- 
rive fairly regularly. 104 On 19 September 
the 16th Port turned over St. Michel to 
the 5th Port, which continued to oper- 
ate the beaches until the end of Septem- 
ber. 105 

In the course of their operation the St. 
Michel beaches handled about 60,000 
tons of supplies, much of it consisting of 
the emergency ammunition shipments 

1M TUSA AAR, II, G-4, 11; History of TC ETO, 
IV, 16th Port, i, 5-6. 

105 History of TC ETO, V, 5th Port, 1. 

made at the behest of Lt. Gen. Troy H. 
Middleton's VIII Corps for the siege of 
Brest. St. Michel's record was not spec- 
tacular in terms of tonnage, but the 
beaches served their purpose in a time 
of pressing need. 

The port of St, Brieuc, forty miles 
farther east, at first was believed to pos- 
sess good potentialities, for it had a well- 
protected landlocked harbor, and was 
well situated with respect to the rail and 
road network. It was estimated at first 
that the port should handle 3,500 tons 
per day, at least half of this in coal. But 
St. Brieuc, like all the small ports, could 
not receive Liberty ships for direct ship- 
to-shore discharge. Shortly after its open- 
ing in mid-September its operations were 



limited entirely to the intake of coal, 
which was to be used for the local gen- 
erating plants and railways. In mid- 
October the shortages of coasters led to 
the decision to close the port. 106 Its dis- 
charge record had been poor, the entire 
cargo handled during its month of op- 
eration totaling less than 10,000 tons. On 
9 November St. Brieuc was turned back 
to the French. 107 

Morlaix and Roscoff, the westernmost 
of the Brittany ports utilized by U.S. 
forces, like St. Michel and St. Brieuc did 
not figure in plans as of D Day, al- 
though they had been considered earlier. 
After a reconnaissance in mid-August, 
however, both ports showed sufficient 
promise to warrant their restoration and 
use. Roscoff and Morlaix were two sepa- 
rate ports, the former situated at the tip 
of the Penlam peninsula and the latter 
about twelve miles up the Dossen estu- 
ary, but they were consistently linked 
in all plans and were restored and op- 
erated by one headquarters. Roscoff was 
strictly tidal, while Morlaix, like Gran- 
ville, had both a drying-out and a locked 
wet basin. Both had the disadvantage of 
all minor ports in that they could not 
accommodate deep-draft shipping except 
to provide anchorage. 

The rehabilitation of the two ports 
consisted in the main of dredging the 
estuary, removing sunken craft, repair- 
ing lock gates, constructing POL recep- 
tion and storage facilities, and erecting 
floodlights. This work was carried out 

by the 1 057th PC&R Group. When com- 
pleted, Morlaix-Roscoff provided anchor- 
age for six Liberty ships, which were 
discharged into schuits, LCT's, and 
barges. The area initially came under 
the control of the 16th Port, which op- 
erated the other small Brittany ports, 
but discharge operations did not actually 
get under way until after the 5th Port 
assumed control on 5 September. 108 Mor- 
laix and Roscoff remained in operation 
until the middle of December and were 
the last of the Brittany ports to be closed. 
In the three months of their operations 
the two ports averaged approximately 
2,100 tons per day, although they often 
exceeded their target of 3,000 tons. Their 
average receipts therefore exceeded those 
of all the other minor ports, and their 
entire intake totaled over 200,000 tons. 

Had there been any choice in the mat- 
ter it is unlikely that the smaller Brit- 
tany ports would have been opened at 
all. In many respects they were uneco- 
nomical to operate. By the time they 
were sufficiently repaired to begin receiv- 
ing supplies (mid-September) the front 
line had advanced several hundred miles 
eastward. None of them could discharge 
deep-draft ships except by lighters, of 
which there was never an adequate num- 
ber to take full advantage of the smaller 
ports' capacity. Brittany's ports, which 
by plan were to have developed a capac- 
ity of 30,050 tons by early November, 
were discharging a mere 3,000 tons per 
day by that time. This represented but 

108 Min, Mtg on Port Situation with CofS COMZ, 108 Port Reconstruction and Repair, Hist Rpt 11, 

G-4, TC, et al, 13 Oct 44, G-4 Plans and Com- OCE ETO, pp. 70-72; History of TC ETO, V, Brit- 

munications Diary/Jnl, ETO Adm 145C. tany Base Section, 9, IV, 5th Port, 1-2; [Cutts] 

107 [Cutts] American Port Plans, pp. 5-6. American Port Plans, 5-6. 



Table 3 — Discharge Performance of the Brittany Ports 








Granville.^ ______ 

15 September 1944 

21 April 1945 




St. Michel 

12 Augustl944 

30 September 1944 




St. Brieuc _ _ 

16 September 1944 

15 October 1944 





5 September 1944 

14 December 1944 




10 percent of the 30,000 tons then being 
unloaded daily as compared with the 70 
percent of total capacity which they were 
expected to provide. They were useful 
in support of the forces operating in the 
peninsula, of course, but these forces 
were relatively insignificant in number 
after September. The Brittany ports con- 
sequently met an almost purely interim 

need pending the development of deep- 
draft capacity farther east. Nevertheless, 
they contributed in relieving the deficit 
in port capacity at a time when approach- 
ing bad weather threatened to close the 
Normandy beaches, and during the pe- 
riod when Cherbourg's reconstruction 
was in progress. Their discharge per- 
formance is summarized in Table 3. 


The Port Discharge and Shipping 
Problems (Continued) 

(i) The Seine Ports— Le Havre 
and Rouen 

The logistic support of U.S. forces 
reached its lowest ebb in the month of 
October. At no other time during the 
eleven months of continental operations 
did the supply situation appear so un- 
favorable in all its aspects. This can be 
attributed in large measure to the un- 
satisfactory port situation. 

In October, as expected, bad weather 
at last had its adverse effect on opera- 
tions at the beaches and, by preventing 
the dispatch of shallow-draft shipping, 
on the full utilization of the smaller 
ports particularly Granville. Cherbourg's 
reconstruction was far from complete, 
and its worst bottleneck, clearance, re- 
mained unsolved. The small Brittany 
ports were making only a minor contri- 
bution to total U.S. needs. In the first 
three weeks of October, consequently, 
unloadings averaged less than 25,000 tons 
per day against an estimated require- 
ment of about 40,000.* The theoretical 

Exclusive of wheeled vehicles and POL. Adm 
Appreciation, SHAEF G-4 Post-NEPTUNE Opns, 17 
Jun 44, SHAEF 12 A Gp 370.2. 

discharge capacity of ports then in opera- 
tion was only 28,000 tons. 2 

Although the final solution did not 
come until the opening of Antwerp, the 
entire port situation took an encourag- 
ing turn for the better in the first week 
of November. The improvement was 
attributable in part to the progress in 
overcoming the clearance problem at 
Cherbourg. More important, however, 
was the opening of two new ports, Le 
Havre and Rouen, which lay at least 100 
miles nearer the front lines than did 
Cherbourg. Both ports were in opera- 
tion by mid-October, making it possible 
to close all the minor ports in both Nor- 
mandy and Brittany except Granville 
and Morlaix by the end of that month. 

U.S. requirements went beyond the 
need for additional deep-draft facilities 
for direct ship-to-shore discharge. New 
coaster capacity was needed to replace 
existing facilities, most of which were 
located on lines of communication al- 
ready too congested and too far to the 
rear. Coaster ports such as St. Vaast, Bar- 
fleur, and Isigny, for example, were 

2 SHAEF G-4 War Diary /Jnl, Basic Statistical 
Rpt 2, 14 Oct 44, App. 4 of Exec Br SHAEF G-4 
War Diary/Jnl. 



cleared by the same road and rail net 
which served the port of Cherbourg and 
the Normandy beaches. There was al- 
ready a large enough accumulation of 
supplies in the Normandy depots to 
saturate the carrying capacity of those 
lines for months to come. 3 

There was also an urgent need for 
developing new bulk POL intake facili- 
ties. As of mid-October Cherbourg was 
virtually the only bulk POL port operat- 
ing on the Continent. It possessed only 
one tanker berth, and that was located 
along the Digue de Querqueville in the 
Grande Rade, where stormy weather 
frequently interfered with berthing and 
discharge. A foretaste of future difficul- 
ties was given on the night of 4 Octo- 
ber, when a storm destroyed eight of the 
ten unloading lines, completely shutting 
down intake for eight hours and mate- 
rially reducing it for another twenty- 
four. A fairly heavy import of gasoline 
had been achieved thus far only by the 
use of large i5,ooo-ton tankers, but the 
advent of bad weather made it extremely 
doubtful that such vessels could con- 
tinue to be handled at the Querqueville 
Digue. Early in October operating diffi- 
culties caused by bad weather, plus shut- 
downs occasioned by the failure of tank- 
ers to arrive, resulted in POL being 
withdrawn from the Cherbourg tank 
farms faster than it could be replaced, 
with the result that stocks again be- 
came dangerously low. Small tankers 
were still bringing POL into Port-en- 
Bessin, but there was danger that bad 

3 Ltr, Vissering, Chief of Mov by Land, Mov and 
Tn Br G-4 SHAEF, to Deputy Chief Mov and Tn 
Br, sub: Suggested Plan for Mov of U.S. Cargo 
Through Calais, 16 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 825a Piers, 
Wharves, Docks, and Berths, III. 

weather would also force a stoppage of 
imports there. By mid-October, then, it 
had become essential that POL ports be 
developed which would afford safe berth- 
ing in adverse weather. 4 

Finally, French officials were appeal- 
ing for the use of some of the available 
port capacity to meet civil import re- 
quirements. There was small hope of 
meeting such demands in view of the 
urgent requirements for military pur- 
poses. Military needs of all kinds— rail- 
way rolling stock and shipping, as well 
as port capacity— so far exceeded the 
available means in October that the allo- 
cation of port capacity for French civil 
needs had to be postponed. 5 The open- 
ing of Le Havre and Rouen nevertheless 
aided greatly in halting the deteriorating 
port situation in October by more than 
compensating for the diminishing re- 
turns at the beaches and by making it 
possible to end the uneconomic use of 
most of the small ports in the Normandy 
and Brittany areas. 

The Seine ports had figured in Allied 
planning from the start* Plans for the 
period after D plus 90 had assumed, in 
fact, that logistic considerations would 
require crossing the lower Seine and 
taking Le Havre and Rouen as a first 
priority operation after the capture of 
the lodgment area. Le Havre was par- 
ticularly valuable. With its fourteen 

4 Memo, Brig D. H. Bond, Chief G-4 Petroleum, 
SHAEF, for Crawford, sub: Dev of the Port of Le 
Havre, Seine River, and Rouen for Bulk POL, 27 
Oct 44; Ltr, Normandy Base Sec to CG COMZ, sub; 
POL Situation, Normandy Base Sec, 17 Oct 44, 
EUCOM 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil IIB; CAO 
Mtg, 27 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 337-14. 

5 Memo, Maj Gen Charles 3- Napier for CAO, sub: 
French Ports, 27 Oct 44, SHAEF G_4 825.1 Piers 
. . . y IV, COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications 
Diary /Jnl, 23 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145c. 



basins and eight miles of quays, includ- 
ing facilities for the reception of large 
oil tankers and a pipeline to Paris de- 
veloped as the result of a tremendous 
improvement program a few years be- 
fore World War I, Le Havre had be- 
come the second port of France. Both 
Le Havre and Rouen, however, were 
intended for British rather than Ameri- 
can use. They were expected to relieve 
British forces from dependence on their 
original Normandy landing beaches at 
about D plus 120, and were not to be 
turned over to U.S. forces until about 
D plus 210. By that date British lines of 
communication were to be based on 
ports farther up the coast. 6 

The rapid developments during the 
pursuit largely invalidated these plans. 
As early as 3 September the SHAEF 
Logistical Plans Branch recommended 
that the Seine ports be turned over to 
U.S. forces in view of the more than 
adequate facilities the British would 
soon have in such ports as Dieppe, Ca- 
lais, and Boulogne, which were already 
uncovered, and in view of the imminent 
fall of Antwerp (which occurred the fol- 
lowing day). 7 The 21 Army Group did 
not favor the release of Le Havre until 
it could be certain that Antwerp and 
Rotterdam would be available, 8 and for 
several days there was no decision on 
the matter. On 11 September, however, 
Maj. Gen. Charles S. Napier, the SHAEF 
Deputy G~4 for Movements and Trans- 

9 SHAEF Ping Study, sub; Post-Neptune, Course 
of Action After Capture of the Lodgment Area, 30 
May 44, SHAEF G-3 War Diary. 

7 Memo, Whipple for CAO, sub: Port Dev, 3 Sep 
44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . Ill; SHAEF G-4 
War Diary/Jnl, 3 Sep 44. 

8 Cbl, 21 A Gp to ANCXF, 7 Sep 44, MAg, 
SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . III. 

portation, recommended to the G-4 that 
Le Havre be assigned to the Communi- 
cations Zone. General Crawford imme- 
diately asked the COMZ commander 
whether he was prepared to undertake 
the development of the port on the as- 
sumption that a portion of the port's 
capacity might initially have to be allo- 
cated to the British, and on the addi- 
tional assumption that the Communi- 
cations Zone in all probability might 
still have to open the port of Brest. 9 
Supreme Headquarters did not wait for 
a formal reply to its query, but on Gen- 
eral Lord's statement that the Communi- 
cations Zone could assume the respon- 
sibility, notified General Lee on the 13th 
that it had decided to assign Le Havre 
to the Communications Zone, and in- 
formed him that the Allied Naval Com- 
mander was prepared to send two Royal 
Marine Engineer companies to assist 
in the work of rehabilitation. 10 

The COMZ commander was still du- 
bious about the value of Le Havre. In 
his analysis of the port problem he noted 
that the port would contribute in only 
a limited degree to the shortening of 
the lines of communication. Only Ant- 
werp and the other northern ports, in 
his opinion, could satisfy that need and 
provide the capacity required. He there- 
fore thought it advisable that Le Havre 
be developed solely as an interim port 
with a capacity of between 8,000 and 
10,000 tons, and with a minimum ex- 
penditure of effort. 11 Theater officials 

9 Memo, Napier for G-4, 1 1 Sep 44, and Cbl 
FWD-14635, Crawford to Lee, 12 Sep 44, SHAEF 
G-4 825.1 Piers . . ., III. 

10 Cbl FWD-14711, SHAEF to Lee, 13 Sep 44, 
SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . ., III. 

11 Ltr, Lee to SHAEF, 14 Sep 44, COMZ G-4 Plans 
and Communications Diary/Jnl, ETO Adm 145C. 



concurred in this view, and embodied 
the COMZ commander's recommenda- 
tion regarding Le Havre in the port de- 
velopment plan which finally crystallized 
toward the end of the month. 12 

General Lee's misgivings as to the 
probability of developing a large dis- 
charge capacity at Le Havre in the near 
future stemmed in part from his knowl- 
edge of the port's condition. The enemy 
garrison at Le Havre had resisted to the 
bitter end, and had forced the Allies to 
subject the city to heavy bombardments 
from the sea, land, and air for a full 
week before it capitulated. When First 
Canadian Army forces entered Le Havre 
on 12 September, therefore, they found 
one of the most thoroughly demolished 
ports captured thus far. Port facilities 
had been destroyed with characteristic 
thoroughness. In addition, the repeated 
bombings had destroyed approximately 
two thirds of the city's business and 
residential sections and caused an esti- 
mated 6,000 civilian casualties. The 
bombings had also created an under- 
standable resentment among the city's 
inhabitants toward their liberators, and 
at best an indifference to the activities 
of the units which shortly arrived to 
rebuild the port. 13 

The damage to Le Havre's port fa- 
cilities followed much the same pattern 
as at Cherbourg and Granville. In one 
sense the destruction was actually more 
serious at Le Havre, for most of the port's 
facilities had centered around the wet 
basins, and a quick survey on 13-14 
September disclosed that all the lock 

"Ltr, Hq ETO to CG COMZ, sub: Alloc of Ports, 
19 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . ., III. 

13 Channel Base Section History, I, 207, ETO Adm 
588; History of TC ETO, V, 16th Port, 40-41. 

gates had been damaged and the basins 
rendered inoperable. This had the 
further result of subjecting all the basins 
to tidal action, and the hydrostatic pres- 
sure caused by the tides in turn caused 
many of the quay walls to fail. 14 In addi- 
tion, there were the usual obstructions— 
the many sunken craft in the various 
channels and basins, demolished cargo- 
handling equipment, and bombed-out 
warehousing. 15 

COMZ officials initially established 
two general priorities for the rehabili- 
tation of the port: the immediate devel- 
opment of tonnage reception of 1,500 
tons per day from Liberty ships by the 
use of dukws and lighters, and then an 
increase in the port's discharge capacity 
to 7,000 tons, but without a major re- 
construction effort. 16 

The principal engineer units dis- 
patched to Le Havre to accomplish this 
mission consisted of two general service 
regiments, two PC&R groups, a port 
repair ship crew, a gas generating unit, 
a maintenance company, a dump truck 
company, and two Royal Marine En- 
gineer companies. All were placed under 
the operational control of the 373d Engi- 
neer General Service Regiment, com- 
manded by Col. Frank F. Bell. Work 
began on 20 September under a three- 
phase program drawn up by the com- 
manders of the 373d Regiment and the 
other engineer units, and by the Chan- 
nel Base Section Engineer. 17 

The first-phase program consisted 

14 Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 275. 

"Port Construction and Repair, Hist Rpt n, 
OCE ETO, 26ff. 

18 Ltr, Hq COMZ to Chiefs of Svs and Stf Sees, 
sub: Dev of Continental Ports, 27 Sep 44, EUCOM 
400 Supplies, Svs, and Equipment, V. 

17 History of TC ETO, V, 16th Port, 8-9. 



mainly of clearing the beaches of mines, 
wire, and tetrahedra; preparing landing 
sites for dukws and various types of land- 
ing craft; opening access roads connected 
with the inland highway net; and pro- 
viding storage areas near the beaches. 
The second-phase program, which got 
under way in October, involved con- 
tinuing work on roads and railways, 
repairing damaged quays, removing 
sunken vessels, repairing existing POL 
facilities and lock gates, and reconstruct- 
ing storage. In some cases the removal 
of debris and the restoration alongside 
quays would have involved too time-con- 
suming an effort. Instead, it was decided 
to provide entirely new berthing by the 
construction of a floating ponton pier 
and piers made with caissons diverted 
from the Mulberry winterization pro- 
gram. 18 Third-phase work, which carried 
on into December, in many cases con- 
sisted simply of the continuation of ear- 
lier projects and the provision of various 
complementary facilities such as light- 
ing and refrigeration. 

Clearance of the beach areas had pro- 
gressed sufficiently to permit the entry of 
a few vessels on % October. These were 
unloaded within the next few days by 
the 16th Port (Brig. Gen. William M. 
Hoge), which had arrived from Brittany 
to take over the operation of Le Havre. 19 
The discharge rate was negligible in the 
first two weeks, for the presence of mines 
in the harbor temporarily limited the 
port's use to LCT's and coasters. As at 

1B lbid., pp. 9-18; Final Report of the Chief En- 
gineer, ETO, I, 275. 

19 General Hoge commanded the port at Le Havre 
only until 31 October, when he went to a new as- 
signment. After an interim period of ten days, com- 
mand of the 16th Port went to Col. Thomas J. 
Weed. History of TC ETO, V, 16th Port, 6. 

Cherbourg, this resulted in delays in 
bringing some of the port equipment 
ashore, for portions of it were aboard 
Liberty ships and could not be trans- 
ferred to dukws. 20 Lack of proper cargo- 
handling and clearance facilities con- 
tributed to the awkwardness of opera- 
tions at first, necessitating multiple han- 
dlings of supplies. 21 On 13 October three 
Liberties were finally ordered forward, 
after which discharge improved steadily. 
In its first full week of operations Le 
Havre discharged about 2,000 tons per 
day. In the second week the average rose 
to 3,650, double the tonnage expected of 
it at that date. 22 

Progress in rehabilitation was excel- 
lent, and the encouraging discharge per- 
formance in the first weeks quickly dis- 
pelled earlier doubts concerning the 
port's value. As early as 23 October the 
plan of operations which the port com- 
mander proposed to the base section 
commander raised Le Havre's target to 
9,100 tons (exclusive of POL and coal), 
which was to be achieved within thirty 
days. 23 Within another week the port 
was averaging about 5,000 tons, and on 
the last day of the month it fell just 
short of the 6,000-ton mark. By that 
time the value of Le Havre and Rouen 
was clearly recognized, not only because 
of their advantages over Cherbourg, but 
because they served as insurance against 
the possible neutralization of Antwerp 
by mine laying and by the enemy's use 
of V-i's and V-2's. The two ports took 
on a significance beyond all expectation 
as the opening date of Antwerp receded 

20 History of Channel Base Section, I, 207. 
"History of TC ETO, V, 16th Port, 33, 36. 

22 CAO Mtg, 27 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 337-14. 

23 History of TC ETO, V, 16th Port, 30. 



Dukws Transferring Cargo from ships to boxcars, Le Havre, 15 November 1944- 

further and further into the future. Le 
Havre and Rouen had proved to be the 
biggest nest egg since the capture of 
Cherbourg. 24 Early in November, there- 
fore, the Communications Zone directed 
the Channel Base Section to develop 
still greater capacity at Le Havre, raising 
the target to 9,500 tons by 1 Decem- 
ber. 25 

Le Havre's discharge capacity actually 
exceeded this target by the end of De- 
cember, although full advantage could 
never be taken of its capacity. Port offi- 
cials had recognized that the crux of 
the problem at Le Havre, as at Cher- 

24 Memo, Col James McCormack, Chief of Mov Br 
G-4 12 A Gp, to Barriger, 31 Oct 44, 12 A Gp 
Tonnage 137. 

23 Ltr, Hq COMZ to CO Channel Base Sec, sub; 
Dev of Port Facilities and Port Clearance— Le Havre 
and Rouen, 6 Nov 44, EUCOM 825 Tunnels and 
Pipelines, Docks, Piers, Jetties. 

bourg, would be the ability to clear. 
Limitation on clearance resulted from 
the fact that all traffic from Le Havre 
had to cross British lines of communi- 
cation, from the usual shortage in rail 
cars and locomotives, and from the lack 
of alongside berths where cargo could 
be transferred directly to rail. Despite 
these handicaps Le Havre continued to 
make a handsome contribution to the 
total tonnages discharged on the Con- 
tinent, averaging more than 5,000 tons 
per day throughout November, and 
5,400 tons in December. In January the 
port bettered this record with a daily 
average of 6,470 tons. 

Le Havre never developed the num- 
ber of alongside Liberty berths planned, 
for the use of caisson piers proved un- 
successful. An abnormally large per- 
centage of the tonnage therefore con- 
tinued to be brought ashore by lighters 



and dukws, the latter alone accounting 
for 33 percent. 26 The extensive use of 
lighters had its disadvantages, of course, 
including multiple handling and inter- 
ruptions from bad weather. The con- 
tinued use of dukws brought its inevi- 
table maintenance problems. One am- 
phibian company estimated that its ve- 
hicles had operated the equivalent of 
70,000 miles. Inability to replace worn- 
out vehicles and the lack of spare parts 
led to widespread cannibalism and other 
expedients, such as the manufacture of 
propeller strut bearings from applewood 
and rudders from scrap steel. At times 
in November the amphibian companies 
were operating with 76 percent of their 
vehicles deadlined. 27 In mid-January the 
port organization was strengthened by 
the arrival of the 53d Medium Port. Le 
Havre then reached a peak strength of 
about 20,000 men, of whom 4,000 were 
French civilians and an undetermined 
number were prisoners of war. 28 

Meanwhile, the port of Rouen, the 
ancient Norman capital lying seventy- 
five miles up the Seine River, had also 
helped relieve the deficit in port capac- 
ity by developing a discharge of several 
thousand tons. Rouen had been cap- 
tured on 30 August, but obviously could 
not be utilized until Le Havre had also 
been taken and the Seine estuary cleared. 
Damage to this port hardly compared 
with that at Le Havre. Fortunately its 
quays were largely intact. But its cargo- 
handling equipment, such as cranes, was 
completely demolished and many vessels 
had been sunk, both along the quays and 

20 History of TC ETC, VI, 16th Port, 119. 
" Ibid., V, 16th Port, 27-28. 
28 /bid., VI, 16th Port, 119. 

in the Seine channel between Rouen and 
Le Havre. The principal rehabilitation 
task consisted of removing these sunken 
craft and cranes and fell mainly to the 
U.S. Navy, aided by French civilians. 
Storage space at Rouen, both covered 
and open, was excellent, and the major 
engineer task there proved to be clearing 
debris, filling bomb craters, erecting 
cranes, and reconstructing railways. 29 

The COMZ directive of 27 September 
had established a target of 3,000 tons per 
day for Rouen. All cargo had to be dis- 
charged from coasters, since the port was 
accessible only to ships with a maximum 
draft of from nineteen to twenty-five 
feet. Although the rehabilitation of 
Rouen did not get under way until 
the beginning of October, the port was 
ready to receive cargo on the 13th, the 
same day on which Le Havre took its 
first Liberties. The port discharged its 
first supplies three days later. For the 
first few days the operation of the port 
was carried out by a detachment of the 
16th Port, sent over from Le Havre. On 
20 October the 1 ith Port, which had op- 
erated the minor Normandy ports until 
a few days before, arrived to take over 
Rouen. 30 

By the end of the month Rouen was 
handling well over 2,000 tons per day, 
and in the first week of November aver- 
aged more than 4,000 tons. The port's 
encouraging development soon made it 
possible for Le Havre to cease discharg- 
ing coasters. On 8 November the Com- 
munications Zone went a step further 

29 Ibid., V, 16th Port, 119; Final Report of the 
Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 275-76; Engr Hist Rpt 11, 
pp. 37ff. 

30 The 1 ith Port relinquished control of Gran- 
ville on 24 October, when the 4th Port of Cher- 
bourg took charge there. 




Quay at Rouen Loaded With Incoming Supplies, 4 December 1944. 

and ordered all coasters except those 
carrying coal sent to Rouen, 31 making it 
possible to close all the shallow ports in 
Normandy and Brittany. At times Rouen 
took Liberty ships after they had been 
lightened to the proper draft at Le 
Havre. 32 Meanwhile the Communica- 
tions Zone raised Rouen's discharge tar- 
get to 7,500 tons. 33 Rouen did not meet 
the new target, but did perform very 
creditably in the next few months, aver- 
aging 4,200 tons per day in November, 
4,138 in December, and 5,072 tons in 
January. Early in 1945 the port's operat- 
ing strength rose to 9,000 Army person- 
nel, 9,000 prisoners of war, and 5,000 
civilians. 34 

31 [Cutts] American Port Plans, II, 34-35. 
"History of TC ETO, V, 11th Port, 2-3. 
33 Ltr, COMZ to Channel Base Sec, 6 Nov 44. 
31 History of TC ETO, VI, 11th Port, 58, 

Le Havre and Rouen together aver- 
aged approximately 8,500 tons per day 
in November, the month preceding the 
opening of Antwerp, and accounted for 
approximately one third of all tonnage 
discharged in that period. The total 
daily discharge on the Continent had 
risen from approximately 25,000 tons 
per day to 27,300 tons since mid-Octo- 
ber. 35 Le Havre and Rouen did not pro- 
vide the final solution to the port prob- 
lem, therefore, but they more than made 
up for the loss of the beaches, and placed 
a substantial portion of the total U.S. 
discharge capacity a sizable distance 
farther forward on the line of communi- 
cations, relieving the desperate shortage 
in transport and serving as an important 
stopgap pending the opening of Ant- 

35 See|Table 4| p. 124, below. 



(2) Antwerp and the Other 
Northern Ports 

Although it was not to receive cargo 
for nearly three months, Antwerp be- 
came the master key to all port policy 
and plans after its capture early in Sep- 
tember. The advantages which Antwerp 
possessed over other ports had long been 
appreciated, and once the port was in 
Allied hands both the 12th Army Group 
and the Communications Zone lost little 
time in urging SHAEF to allocate a por- 
tion of the port's capacity to U.S. forces. 36 
General Bradley strongly hoped that the 
early opening of the port would assure 
a constant source of supply for the arm- 
ies and thus obviate the necessity for a 
long build-up period and postponement 
of the offensive. 37 

Small wonder that Antwerp's capture 
raised hopes of solving the Allies' long- 
standing logistic problem. Antwerp 
ranked with Hamburg, Rotterdam, and 
New York as one of the world's great 
ports, even though it did not approach 
the size of those cities in population. In 
1938 alone it had registered 12,000 ves- 
sels and handled almost 60,000,000 tons 
of freight. 

Antwerp is an inland port, situated 
on the right bank of the Schelde estuary, 
fifty-five miles from the sea. Unlike other 
ports on tidal streams, it could receive 
large seagoing vessels at all stages of the 
tide, for even the minimum depth along 
the quays in the river was twenty-seven 

36 Memo, Moses for Crawford, 10 Sep 44, SHAEF 
AF 323.5-2 Ports (Captured Ports); COMZ G-4 
History, I, 45; Ltr, Lee to SAC, 14 Sep 44, EUCOM 
800 Rivers, Harbors, and Waterways. 

37 Conf at COMZ, 18 Sep 44, G-4 History, I, 46. 

feet. Furthermore, the Schelde was more 
than 500 yards wide at Antwerp and 
thus permitted easy maneuvering of the 
largest ships. 

Antwerp's port facilities were located 
partly along the river itself and partly 
in a complex of wet basins built off 
one side of the river. Approximately 
three and one half miles of quays lined 
the right bank of the Schelde, forming 
the western limits of the city. The 
greater portion of the port lay to the 
north of the city and consisted of eight- 
een basins, to which access was obtained 
through four locks. These basins pro- 
vided nearly twenty-six miles of quays. 
The port therefore offered more than 
twenty-nine miles of quays, and these 
were equipped with more than 600 hy- 
draulic and electric cranes, plus numer- 
ous floating cranes, loading bridges, and 
floating grain elevators. 

Storage accommodations were com- 
mensurate with these modern discharge 
facilities. There were nearly 900 ware- 
houses, plus a granary with a capacity 
of almost a million bushels, and cold 
storage chambers with about 750,000 
cubic feet of capacity. Petroleum in- 
take and storage installations were also 
on a grand scale. Pipelines ran directly 
from tanker berths to the 498 storage 
tanks, which occupied 208 acres and 
could hold 124,000,000 gallons of POL. 

Equally important were the excellent 
clearance facilities. Antwerp alone pos- 
sessed more than 500 miles of rails, plus 
ample marshaling yards, and was well 
tied in with a Belgian transportation 
network consisting of 3,250 miles of rail- 
ways and 1,370 miles of navigable water- 
ways, including the Albert Canal, which 



connected Antwerp with the Meuse 
River. 38 

Antwerp therefore had a potential ca- 
pacity which completely dwarfed that of 
all the other ports the Allies thus far 
had captured and put to use. Further- 
more, Antwerp's appearance upon cap- 
ture was in startling contrast to that of 
Cherbourg and Le Havre, for the port 
had suffered only minor damage. The 
swiftness of the British advance had al- 
lowed the enemy little time to prepare 
demolitions, and the port had been 
saved from complete destruction largely 
through the gallant action of a Belgian 
reserve lieutenant employed in the port 
administration who had worked out a 
tactical plan which effectively frustrated 
the enemy's attempted demolitions. 39 

Nor had Antwerp sustained the dam- 
age which Le Havre had suffered from 
Allied bombardment. The only demoli- 
tions of any importance had been car- 
ried out on the locks, thus preventing 
immediate use of the wet basins. But 
the quays lining the river were in good 
condition and, subject to the removal 
of two small coasters which had been 
sunk in the estuary, could accommo- 
date twenty-three Liberty ships. Practi- 
cally all of the port's 625 cranes and 
other unloading machinery were found 
in working order, and warehouses and 
sheds were also largely intact. Damage 
to the rail lines was limited to three 
demolished bridges, and there was a 
large quantity of immediately usable 
rolling stock in the port. In addition, 

38 History of TC ETO, VI, 13th Port, 74-77; Hist 
Rpt 11, OCE ETO, pp. 40-42. 

39 Maj Gen Sir Colin Gubbins, "Resistance Move- 
ments in the War," Journal Royal United Service 
Institution, XCIII (May, 1948), 219. 

local authorities reported an adequate 
supply of trained boat crews, crane op- 
erators, mechanics, and dock labor to 
man the port. 40 

Supreme Headquarters concluded 
that Antwerp's potentialities were ample 
to meet both U.S. and British needs. On 
19 September SHAEF instructed Gen- 
eral Lee to send a senior planner to 21 
Army Group headquarters immediately 
to work out plans for the base layout 
and for sharing the port's facilities. 41 
General Lee arranged a conference be- 
tween COMZ and 21 Army Group offi- 
cials, and representatives of the two 
headquarters met at Antwerp between 
24 and 26 September. Tentative agree- 
ments were reached on the allocation of 
tonnage capacity and storage facilities, the 
use of rail lines, and on the port's com- 
mand and administrative organization. 
A temporary division of the port between 
U.S. and British forces was also made, 
pending its complete rehabilitation, and 
agreement was reached as to the respon- 
sibility of the respective forces for un- 
dertaking various repair and reconstruc- 
tion projects. 42 There was still consid- 
erable optimism over the prospect that 
Antwerp might soon be in operation, 
even though the approaches to the port 
were still in enemy hands. 

The capture of Antwerp had not ruled 
out the use of other ports which had 
been uncovered along the Channel and 

40 Engr Hist Rpt 11, p. 43. 

41 Ltr, SHAEF TO CG COMZ, sub: Alloc of Ports, 
19 Sep 44, EUCOM 800 Rivers, Harbors, and Water- 
ways, I. 

42 Ports— Development of Antwerp, prep by Lt A. 
Gratiot, G-4 Sec COMZ, Jan 45, MS, ETO Adm 
244; Ltr, Lt Col E. W. Weber, Roads, Railroads Br 
G-4 COMZ, to Potter, sub: Alloc of Facilities of 
Port of Antwerp, 27 Sep 44, ETO Adm 145C. 



North Sea coast during the September 
drive. The Communications Zone had 
not lost sight of their possible value, and 
in the port plan which it submitted to 
SHAEF on 14 September recommended 
that all requirements be reviewed when 
the other north coast ports were cap- 
tured so that an equitable apportion- 
ment of their facilities could be made. 43 
At the end of the month the COMZ 
directive on port development specifi- 
cally mentioned Calais, Boulogne, and 
Ostend as ports which might either be 
assigned to U.S. forces or shared with 
the British, and announced that the 
Channel Base Section and Navy would 
reconnoiter the entire coast east of Le 
Havre, particularly to find suitable 
beaching sites for LST's. 44 The latter 
were urgently needed to replace the 
Omaha and Utah Beaches as points 
of entry for tracked vehicles. Channel 
Base Section reconnoitered four of the 
ports— Dieppe, Le Treport, Boulogne, 
and Ostend— within the next few days. 

On 5 October U.S. and British offi- 
cials met again, this time at Brussels, 
to review the entire port situation in the 
northeast and specifically to consider 
how the smaller ports could be utilized 
pending the opening of Antwerp. By 
this time the optimism over Antwerp 
had declined noticeably, and a target 
date of 15 November was accepted for 
the opening of the port. Le Havre and 
Rouen were still unknown quantities at 
this date. On the basis of either intel- 
ligence reports or reconnaissances al- 
ready carried out, therefore, about ten 
of the smaller north coast ports were 

43 Ltr, Lee to SAC, 14 Sep 44. 
44 Ltr, Lord to Chiefs of Gen and Special Stfs and 
Base Sec Comdrs, 26 Sep 44. 

carefully studied during the four-day 
conference. A few of the ports, such as 
Dunkerque and Zeebrugge, were still in 
enemy hands; several others, like Nieuw- 
poort, Gravelines, Blankenberge, and 
the Calais-Ostend reach, which was con- 
sidered as a possible landing site for 
vehicle-carrying LST's, were ruled out 
for one reason or another. 

Only four ports were accepted as hav- 
ing potential value. These were Bou- 
logne, Dieppe, and Ostend, which were 
assigned to the British with the reserva- 
tion that U.S. forces should share in 
POL reception at Ostend, and Calais, 
which was assigned to the Americans. 
The Communications Zone concluded 
on the basis of a reconnaissance that 
Calais could provide the needed LST 
berths for vehicle discharge, and Chan- 
nel Base Section made preparations for 
certain improvements there, including 
plans for the construction of an unload- 
ing ramp. But it failed to carry through 
on these plans, and when 21 Army 
Group requested permission to construct 
a train ferry terminal there, and later 
a hard for a vehicle discharge, SHAEF 
promptly approved. On 23 October it 
designated 21 Army Group as the agency 
henceforth responsible for developing, 
operating, and administering Calais, al- 
though it was understood that the Com- 
munications Zone would share in the 
use of the port. 45 

None of the ports mentioned above 
had anything but limited value and they 
were obviously no substitute for Ant- 

45 [Cutts] American Port Plan, II, 37-45; Cols, 21 
A Gp to Gale, 18 and 2t Oct 44, SHAEF AG 323.3-2 
Ports (Captured Ports); Cbl, S-63627, G-4 SHAEF 
to 21 A Gp, 23 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . 



werp. Small wonder that the Supreme 
Commander and his logistic planners be- 
came more and more anxious, therefore, 
as the supply situation deteriorated in 
October without any sign that the great 
port might soon be placed in operation. 
The current concept of Antwerp s im- 
portance was well expressed by Colonel 
Whipple, the chief of the SHAEF Lo- 
gistical Plans Branch, early in October, 
"The failure to open Antwerp," he 
wrote, "is jeopardizing the administra- 
tive soundness of our entire winter cam- 
paign. The placing of this operation as 
second priority within s>i Army Group 
had temporary justification while the 
Northern salient was being reinforced, 
but I see no excuse for it now. The pres- 
ent lack of support of troops of [the] US 
3rd and 9th Armies and minimum sup- 
port of 1st Army cannot be rectified 
until Antwerp is opened. Fifteen divi- 
sions are held impotent for lack of suc- 
cess in this relatively small operation, 
and this weakness may involve us in 
winter weather to such an extent that 
our advance into Germany may be de- 
layed until spring." 46 In Colonel Whip- 
ple's view it was imperative that "21 
Army Group be directed to place the 
clearing of Antwerp as highest priority 
and to make such other adjustments as 
are essential to insure it will not be 
further delayed." 

General Eisenhower needed no con- 
vincing in this matter. He had assessed 
the true value of Antwerp some time 
before, and had repeatedly impressed on 

46 Memo, Whipple for G-4, sub: Capture of Ap- 
proaches to Antwerp, 8 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 
Piers . . Ill; SHAEF G-4 Log Plans Br Diary /Jnl, 
8 Oct 44. 

the 2 1 Army Group commander the ur- 
gency of getting the port into operation. 
By early October the Supreme Com- 
mander had become impatient and 
alarmed over the protracted attention 
which Field Marshal Montgomery was 
giving the Nijmegen bridgehead at the 
expense of the Schelde operation. Clear- 
ing the Antwerp approaches simply 
could not be postponed any longer, and 
in the second week of October General 
Eisenhower insisted that Montgomery 
give unequivocal first priority to that 
operation. Operations designed to clear 
the mouth of the Schelde were initiated 
by the First Canadian Army a week 
later, and were completed in the first 
week of November. 47 

It was with an obvious sense of relief 
that the Supreme Commander saw the 
21 Army Group finally turn to the 
Schelde operation. Eisenhower had pre- 
dicted that operations would come to a 
standstill if the port were not in opera- 
tion by mid-November. In fact, he had 
emphasized the importance of Antwerp 
so frequently that General Marshall ex- 
pressed fear that the ETOUSA com- 
mander was putting all his eggs in one 
basket. Late in October he cautioned 
General Eisenhower against relying too 
heavily on a single port, particularly in 
view of its vulnerability to rocket at- 
tacks. With the large concentration of 
shipping and supplies there, particularly 
ammunition, Antwerp offered a lucra- 
tive target, and enemy attacks would do 
tremendous harm to the war effort if 

47 Cbls S-61466 and S-61621 Eisenhower to Mont- 
gomery, 9 and 10 Oct 44, Eyes Only Cbls, Smith 
Papers; Ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 15 Oct 44, OPD 
Exec Office Pile 9, Bk 23. 



offensive operations depended on this 
one vital but vulnerable asset, 48 

General Eisenhower immediately as- 
sured the Chief of Staff that, far from 
relying solely on that port, SHAEF was 
taking steps to develop every other port 
to its maximum capacity. 49 Le Havre 
and Rouen had in fact just come into 
operation; the bottleneck was soon to 
be broken at Cherbourg; and there even 
were hopes that before long Marseille 
might develop capacity in excess of the 
6th Army Group s needs and help sup- 
port the Third Army. It was expected, 
however, that Antwerp's opening would 
provide the additional capacity required 
to build forward reserves and to receive 
and maintain additional divisions in the 
line. 50 It would also make possible the 
discharge of ships carrying engineer and 
quartermaster Class II supplies and ve- 
hicles, all of which had had low priority 
in the preceding months because of the 
emphasis which had unavoidably been 
placed on the discharge of rations and 
ammunition. Finally, the opening of 
Antwerp would make it possible to elim- 
inate the tremendous backlog of ship- 
ping waiting to be accepted in European 
ports. 51 

In the meantime U.S. and British 
forces had proceeded with the necessary 
rehabilitation of the port, and COMZ 
and 2 i Army Group officials worked out 
detailed plans for administering the port 
and sharing its facilities. SHAEF had 
settled the issue of control of the port at 

48 Cbl W-51862, Marshall to Eisenhower, 25 Oct 
44, Eyes Only Cbls, Smith Papers, 

49 Cbl S-64077, Eisenhower to Marshall, 26 Oct 44, 
OPD Cbl Files. 

m Ibid. 

51 COMZ G-4 History, I, 66. 

the time it agreed that Antwerp should 
be developed for both U.S. and British 
use. General Lee had suggested joint 
control. 52 But the Supreme Commander 
had decided that the port would be 
opened under British control, since ex- 
perience had shown joint operation of a 
port to be unsatisfactory. 53 

The manner in which this control was 
to be exercised was first outlined at the 
Antwerp meeting of 24-26 September. 
Additional matters, such as the labor sit- 
uation at Antwerp, were taken up at 
the Brussels Conference on 5 October. 
The Communications Zone immediately 
thereafter sent qualified personnel .to 
the various Anglo-American committees 
which were established to work out the 
detailed plans for the use of the port. 
Planning the clearance alone of a port 
the size of Antwerp was a tremendous 
undertaking, for it required close co- 
ordination to make the most efficient use 
of rolling stock and railway running 
rights, especially in view of the fact that 
the port was to be used by both the 
Americans and British. 

The operational plan which Ameri- 
can and British experts worked out in 
these weeks was finally formalized on 1 8 
October in a "Memorandum of Agree- 
ment" signed by Miles H. Graham, ma- 
jor general in charge of administration, 
2 1 Army Group, and by Colonel Jacobs, 
the Channel Base Section commander, 
who had been the chief COMZ repre- 
sentative in the negotiations with the 
British. The stated purpose of the agree- 
ment was to establish the basic plan and 
procedure for the development of the 

Ltr, Lee to Eisenhower, 14 Sep 44. 
Ltr, SHAEF to Lee, 19 Sep 44. 



maximum capacity of the port, and to 
provide the necessary facilities and con- 
trols for road, rail, and inland water 
transport in order that the requirements 
of both forces might be met with mini- 
mum cross-haul and interference. A tar- 
get date of 15 November was established 
for the completion of all work necessary 
for the opening and operation of the 

Naval command of Antwerp, which 
included the control of shipping within 
the port, was vested in the Royal Navy; 
and the Naval Officer in Charge, or 
NOIC, was initially designated as the 
Chairman, Port Executive Committee. A 
British base sub area commander was 
made responsible for the local adminis- 
tration of the Antwerp area, and the de- 
fense of the port by air, land, and sea, 
was also a British responsibility. So far 
as berthing facilities were concerned, the 
port's inner basins were simply geo- 
graphically divided, the northern sec- 
tion of the port being allocated to the 
Americans, and the southern to the Brit- 
ish. It so happened that each of these 
areas also had a marshaling yard. The 
river berths were unassigned, their al- 
location being left up to the Port Execu- 
tive Committee depending on current 
needs and on the basis of tonnage alloca- 
tions established by SHAEF. At the first 
Antwerp meeting at the end of Septem- 
ber a tentative division of tonnage ca- 
pacity had allocated 25,000 tons to the 
Americans and 15,000 to the British. 
This was now changed to 22,500 and 
17,500 tons respectively, exclusive of 

Joint use of Antwerp's facilities was 
thus avoided so far as possible, and in 
that part of the port specifically allocated 

to U.S. forces there was to be a U.S. 
Army officer designated as port com- 
mander. Above him was the Channel 
Base Section commander, who was re- 
sponsible for the "coordination, control, 
and the administration" of all U.S. 
forces in the area. There were many 
"common use" facilities and installa- 
tions, of course, such as POL, coal, grain, 
cold storage, signal, and repair, and 
where such facilities were jointly used 
the commandant of the area specifically 
allocated to the British was to co-ordi- 
nate British and U.S. activities in con- 
sultation with the U.S. port commander, 
both of whom were members of the Port 
Executive Committee. 

The great importance of port clear- 
ance was recognized in the provision of 
a joint British-U.S. Movements and 
Transportation Committee, which was 
to plan and co-ordinate all traffic by road, 
rail, and inland waterway, and handle 
all dealings with Belgian transport or- 
ganizations. The agreement of 18 Oc- 
tober made an initial allocation of trans- 
portation facilities to the two forces, 
however. It gave U.S. forces primary 
rights over highways southeastward to 
Liege and Naraur, and the British pri- 
mary rights to Brussels; assigned to the 
Americans control over railways south 
and southeastward to Liege and (via 
Brussels) to Namur and Luxembourg, 
and to the British control over lines run- 
ning to the north and northeast. 54 

The rehabilitation of facilities re- 
quired for maximum operation of the 

H Memorandum of Agreement on the Operation 
of the Port and the Clearance Therefrom for the 
Maintenance of British and U.S. Armies, signed by 
Jacobs and Graham, 18 Oct .44, in History of TC 
ETO, V, 13th Port, 1-5. 



port was the responsibility of the 21 
Army Group, although it was agreed 
that U.S. forces could be called on for 
whatever assistance was necessary to meet 
the 15 November deadline. U.S. forces 
undertook several projects, including the 
repair of the vital Kruisschans Lock, 
which led most directly into the Ameri- 
can portion of the port, mine clearance 
in the inner basins, clearance and minor 
repairs to the quays and transit storage 
sheds, and repair and reconstruction of 
road and rail facilities assigned to the 
Americans. 55 

These projects were not fully com- 
pleted by 15 November, but it was not 
for this reason that the port could not 
open on that date. Clearing the mines 
from the Schelde proved a time-consum- 
ing task, as at Cherbourg, and was not 
completed until 26 November. At that 
time much still remained to be done in 
the port itself, but of the 242 berths in 
the port 219 were completely cleared, 
all of the 600 cranes were in operating 
order, and all bridges needed for opera- 
tions had been repaired. 56 

The Communications Zone had nom- 
inated seventy-odd ships for entry into 
Antwerp in the first ten days, almost 
all of them commodity-loaded— that is, 
loaded with a single type of supply, such 
as engineer supplies. 57 The long-awaited 
opening of the port finally took place 
on 28 November, when the James B. 
Weaver, a Liberty ship carrying per- 
sonnel and organizational equipment for 
the port headquafters and a party of war 

55 Gratiot, Ports— Development of Antwerp. 

80 Final Report of the Port Executive Committee, 
26 Nov 44, in History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 7-8. 

87 Cbl EX-65464, Lee to Gross, 20 Nov 44, in His- 
tory of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 6. 

correspondents, was berthed. Thirteen 
vessels entered the port on the following 
day, and seven more on the 30th. 58 

U.S. operations at Antwerp were or- 
ganized and controlled by the 13th Ma- 
jor Port, which had operated briefly at 
Plymouth and Falmouth before moving 
to the Continent in October. When oper- 
ations actually got under way the 13th 
was reinforced by the 5th Port, which 
began arriving from Brittany at the end 
of November. 59 The entire U.S. organiza- 
tion was commanded by Col. Doswell 
Gullatt, who had already had wide ex- 
perience in both marine construction 
and port operations. Colonel Gullatt had 
commanded the 5th Engineer Special 
Brigade at Omaha Beach, and earlier in 
his Army career, as District Engineer at 
Mobile, Alabama, had had varied ex- 
perience in the construction of piers and 
docks, in canal dredging operations, and 
in general construction work. 

Logistic planners estimated that U.S. 
discharge at Antwerp should reach 15,- 
000 tons per day in December, 21,500 
tons in January, and finally achieve the 
full tonnage allocation of 22,500 in 
March. Unloadings built up to the 
planned rate very rapidly. By the end of 
the first week the 13th Port had reached 
the 10,000-ton mark, and in the second 
week of December the port was already 
averaging 19,000 tons per day and ac- 
counting for approximately 48 percent 
of all the U.S. tonnage discharged on the 
Continent (exclusive of Marseille on the 
southern line of communications). 60 

The port had hardly achieved this per- 

58 History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 11. 
60 Ibid., V, 13th Port, 1, and V, 5th Port, 6; VI, 
13th P ort. 77. 
,M See|Table 4|p. 124, below. 



formance when clearance became a bot- 
tleneck just as it had at Cherbourg. 
Clearance had not become a limiting 
factor through oversight. Mainly because 
of it, in fact, logistic planners had 
planned a maximum combined import 
at Antwerp of only 40,000 tons per day, 
knowing that the port possessed capacity 
far in excess of this target. The principal 
limitation so far as U.S. operations were 
concerned was in storage. Antwerp, with 
all its magnificent facilities, lacked suffi- 
cient warehousing to permit any sizable 
backlogging of cargo in the port itself, 
for it had been the practice in peace- 
time to clear incoming cargo via rail, 
highway, and canal immediately after it 
was unloaded. 

It was evident after the first recon- 
naissance that there would not be ade- 
quate covered or open storage in Ant- 
werp to satisfy both American and Brit- 
ish needs. Antwerp, lying in the British 
zone, was a logical base for the support 
of 2 1 Army Group, and British officials, 
realizing the inadequacy of storage fa- 
cilities in the area had opposed the es- 
tablishment of U.S. base installations 
there. 01 Only a small amount of storage 
space, all of it uncovered, was allocated 
for American use, therefore, purely for 
intransit purposes, on the theory that all 
U.S. cargo would be promptly dispatched 
to depots in Liege and Namur or as 
near that area as possible. 

COMZ supply planners were under no 
illusions as to the probable implications 
of this deficiency. Colonel Potter, the 
G-4 plans chief, estimated that an ac- 

ttl Summary of Events and Decisions 20 Sep to 30 
Sep 44, in COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications 
Diary/Jnl, ETO Adm 145C; Gratiot, Ports— Develop- 
ment of Antwerp. 

cumulation of more than 15,000 tons 
(less than a day's intake) would create 
a serious obstacle to further unloading 
and outshipment. Since there appeared 
to be no immediate solution to the prob- 
lem, however, it was decided to hope for 
the best, and if it proved impossible to 
phase in certain types of cargo (particu- 
larly engineer supplies) at the rate at 
which forward depots could receive it, 
to "pile the stuff on the ground, and 
brace ourselves for the repercussions to 
come." 62 

Within two weeks of the port's open- 
ing about 85,000 tons of cargo had al- 
ready accumulated in sheds and under 
tarpaulins back of the quays, threaten- 
ing to hamper unloading operations. 
Storage space for 100,000 tons of supplies 
was being utilized in the U.S. section of 
the port, and space for an additional 
50,000 tons was granted in the British 
area in December. It was estimated that 
in another ten days operations would be 
entirely dependent on the ability of the 
port to clear tonnage as discharged. 63 

The difficulty was attributable in part 
to the shortage of railway rolling stock, 
particularly in the first days after the 
opening of the port. Clearance by rail 
improved after the middle of the month, 
and eventually accounted for approxi- 
mately 45 percent of the 313,500 tons 
cleared in the first month. 64 Clearance 
by barge, however, fell considerably be- 
low expectations. It had been hoped that 
fully a third of the port's intake could 

02 Memo, Potter for Stratton, 18 Nov 44, COMZ 
G— 4 Plant and Communications Diary/Jnl. 

03 Ltr, Lt Col R. W. Reisner, SHAEF G-4 Mov 
and Tn Br, to G-4, sub: Rpt of Trip to Antwerp, 
20 Dec 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . ., V. 

°* Channel Base Section History, I, 225; History of 
TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 13. 

Ships Discharging Cargo for Clearance by Rail, Antwerp, 22 December 1944. 



be cleared in this manner, principally 
via the Albert Canal, which was to have 
opened by 15 December. 65 Delays in the 
removal o£ obstructions, particularly the 
wrecked Yserburg Bridge at the entrance, 
postponed the opening o£ the canal until 
23 December, by which date 198 loaded 
barges had accumulated. There was some 
movement via canal after that date, but 
the total shipments by inland waterway 
totaled only 48,000 tons in December, 
equal to 1 5 percent of the total tonnage 
cleared. 66 

The clearance problem had barely 
shown signs of improving when it was 
aggravated afresh. Late in December the 
enemy counteroffensive, which threat- 
ened to overrun the advance U.S. supply 
installations in Belgium, caused the 
Communications Zone to place an em- 
bargo on all shipments to ADSEC de- 
pots. The embargo applied to barge as 
well as rail shipments, with the result 
that large numbers of loaded barges and 
rail cars began to accumulate in the port 
area. By 4 January nearly 3,500 loaded 
freight cars were awaiting dispatch, and 
the entire port had become seriously 
congested. At the ADSEC depots, mean- 
while, thousands of cars were being held 
under load so that forward stocks could 
be kept mobile. 67 

To relieve the pressure on both Ant- 
werp and the ADSEC depots General 
Plank, among others, had advocated the 
acquisition of overflow storage facilities 
in other Belgian cities as early as No- 
vember, but without success. In January 
the backlog at Antwerp was finally re- 

05 Gratiot, Ports—Development of Antwerp. 
00 Channel Base Section History, I, 225; History of 
TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 13-14. 
" 7 Channel Base Section History, I, 42-43, 239. 

lieved by opening such facilities in the 
Lille area, and by lifting the embargo. 
But the congestion was not easily cleared 
up, and the number of rail cars ordered 
for loading at the port consistently fell 
short of the number required. 68 

Antwerp's discharge rate inevitably re- 
flected these difficulties. After attaining 
an average of 19,000 tons in the second 
week of December the port's intake fell 
to 13,700 tons per day for the remainder 
of the month, and to approximately 
10,500 tons in the first half of January. 
It mattered little, therefore, that the 
port had a discharge capacity of between 
80,000 and 100,000 tons per day as long 
as inadequate transportation and depot 
facilities limited clearance. 69 

Antwerp operated under another hand- 
icap which precluded its providing an 
ideal solution to the port problem. Long 
before it actually began to accept cargo 
the port came under attack from the 
enemy's vaunted secret weapons— pilot- 
less aircraft and rockets. The Nazis had 
begun to employ the V-i's and V-2*s 
in mid-October, and warned the people 
of Antwerp that they would send 3,000 
planes over their city on the day the first 
Allied ship entered the port. 70 This 
threat was not fulfilled, but the enemy 
did maintain an almost constant rain of 
the dreaded missiles on Antwerp and 
other cities of Belgium for more than 
five months, terrorizing the population 

M Cbl E-88536, ETO to Channel Base Sec, 20 Jan 
45; Cbl CBSG-4-1900, Channel Base Sec to TC 
ETO, 21 Jan 45; Cbl E-89714, G-4 ETO to Channel 
Base Sec, 23 Jan 45; Cbl 2078, Channel Base Sec to 
G-4 ETO, 25 Jan 45, Hq ETO Cbls, ETO Adm 405. 

09 Memo, Deep-Draught Ports on Continent, 26 
Jan 45 (no signature) SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . 

70 COMZ Comd and Stf Conf, 24 Nov 44, SHAEF 
G-4 337 Command and Staff Confs, I. 



and causing many people to move into 
the country. 

The V-bombs had surprisingly little 
effect on port operations, although their 
potential destructiveness forced the Al- 
lies to take special precautions in han- 
dling their most sensitive commodity, 
ammunition. Early in November Su- 
preme Headquarters raised the question 
of admitting ammunition ships to Ant- 
werp and requested the various inter- 
ested headquarters to present their views 
on the matter. The Communications 
Zone recommended that ammunition be 
excluded entirely, and proposed that all 
Class V supply continue to be handled 
at Cherbourg and Le Havre. Neither the 
Allied Naval Commander nor the 21 
Army Group considered it necessary to 
exclude ammunition from Antwerp, but 
did advocate that certain precautions be 
taken, including a restriction in the num- 
ber of ammunition ships permitted in 
the port at one time, the dispersion of 
such vessels, and the prompt clearance 
of ammunition from the port so that 
there would be no accumulation at quay- 
side. 71 

The policy which the chief administra- 
tive officer laid down a few days later 
generally followed these recommenda- 
tions. It did not forbid the acceptance 
of ammunition at Antwerp, but re- 
stricted the quantity to the operational 
requirements at the discretion of the 
Communications Zone and the 21 Army 
Group, and specified that it be handled 
in a separate and remote section of the 

71 Cbl S-65373, SHAEF to Major Commands* 4 
Nov 44; Cbl Ex-6i2i4, Lee to SHAEF, 7 Nov 44; 
Cble 060910A, ANCXF to SHAEF, 6 Nov 44; Cbl 
QM-1756, 21 A Gp to SHAEF, 8 Nov 44, SHAEF 
AG 323.3-3 (Ports) Port Capacities. 

port, that no dumps be permitted even 
for sorting, and that special fire-fighting 
preparations be made. 72 

When Antwerp actually opened at the 
end of November the Port Executive 
Committee asked that all ammunition 
be excluded temporarily, and SHAEF 
approved this request, specifying that no 
ammunition would be unloaded at Ant- 
werp for fourteen days except in emer- 
gency. 73 An exception was immediately 
made, however, in granting a request of 
21 Army Group to admit certain British 
vessels, 74 and a few weeks later ammuni- 
tion began to be received regularly, sub- 
ject to the restrictions laid down earlier. 

In mid-January the rules for ammuni- 
tion acceptance required reconsidera- 
tion. The scale of attacks by V-weapons 
had showed no signs of slackening. The 
main area of impact had in fact shifted 
to the docks, resulting in greater dam- 
age and increased casualties. In the opin- 
ion of the Port Executive Committee the 
current policy simply courted disaster. 
It therefore recommended much more 
stringent regulations. The problem was 
not serious for U.S. forces, since all am- 
munition on American account could 
easily be handled at other ports; the 21 
Army Group readily agreed to have more 
ammunition discharged at Ostend and 
Ghent. Both the amounts and types of 
ammunition/ to be brought in via Ant- 
werp accordingly were reduced to a min- 

72 Ltr, Crawford to Smith, sub: Acceptance of 
Ammo Ships to Antwerp, 10 Nov 44, and Cable to 
Major Commands, SHAEF SGS 800 Antwerp. 

"Cbl 301504A, NOIC Antwerp to ANCXF, 30 
Nov 44, and Cbl S-69457, SHAEF to COMZ et al, 
4 Dec 44, SHAEF SGS 800 Antwerp. 

71 Cbl QM-2261, 21 A Gp to SHAEF G-4, 4 Dec 
44, and Cbl 8-69623, SHAEF to 21 A Gp, 5 Dec 44, 
SHAEF SGS 800 Antwerp. 



imum. 75 These restrictions were not re- 
laxed until late in April, barely two 
weeks before the end of hostilities. Even 
then the number of vessels which could 
discharge at one time was limited, and 
no stacking of ammunition on the quays 
was permitted. 70 

In addition to imposing a handicap on 
discharge operations, the V-weapon at- 
tacks contributed greatly to the distress 
of Antwerp's inhabitants. Antwerp came 
under intensified attack by the dreaded 
"vengeance" weapons during the enemy 
counteroffensive in the last half of De- 
cember. One of the most disastrous at- 
tacks occurred on the afternoon of 16 De- 
cember, when a direct hit on the crowded 
Rex Theater killed 567 soldiers and 
civilians and seriously injured another 
291. U.S. engineers, aided by other port 
units, worked nearly a week recovering 
bodies from the debris. 77 

Antwerp sustained nearly 4,000 hits 
before the attacks finally ceased at the 
end of March 1945. The city suffered 
heavy material damage, and sustained 
more than 10,000 casualties, two thirds 
of all those caused by the V-weapons on 
the Continent. Of these, about 82 per- 
cent were civilian, the remainder mili- 
tary. 78 

Under these attacks living conditions, 

r5 Cbl 131642A, NOIC Antwerp to 21 A Gp, 13 
Jan 45, and Cbl MGA-5, 21 A Gp to SHAEF, 15 
Jan 45, ETO Cbls, ETO Adm 404 and SHAEF SGS 
323.3 Ports— Allocation and Development; Cbl S- 
75911, SHAEF to G-4 ETO, 21 Jan 45, ETO Cbls, 
ETO Adm 405. 

7fi Cbl S-86010, SHAEF to TC ETO, 24 Apr 45, 
ETO Cbls, ETO Adm 415. 

"History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 15; VI, 13th 
Port, 73-74. 

78 [Royce L. Thompson] Military Impact of the 
German V-Weapons, 1943-1945, 31 Jul 53, pp. 9-12, 
51-53, MS, OCMH. 

already very bad, became worse. Short- 
ages of food, clothing, and coal created 
great distress during the winter, and 
finally led to a strike among dock work- 
ers on 16 January. The strike was not 
directed against the Allied port organi- 
zation, but was intended rather as a pro- 
test against the arduous working condi- 
tions and terrible economic conditions 
which forced people to resort to the 
black market for the barest essentials. 
The demonstration lasted only one day, 
and workers returned to their work on 
assurance from the burgomaster that 
more food and coal would be made avail- 
able at regulation prices. 79 

Civilian labor was plentiful for the 
most part, although the movement of 
many workers out of the city produced 
a transportation problem. There were 
the usual difficulties over language, and 
over reading the complicated markings 
on U.S. cargo. But Belgian labor was 
both co-operative and industrious, and 
U.S. forces made the maximum use of 
the local manpower resources, reserving 
their own port battalions for supervisory 
jobs. In December an average of 9,000 
civilian workers were employed in the 
U.S. section of the port, and on one shift 
a record 13,125 men. 80 

Antwerp recovered from the worst ef- 
fect of the embargo and clearance hand- 
icaps in the second half of January and 

79 Cbl 1 31642 A, NOIC Antwerp to 21 A Gp, 13 
Jan 45, EUCOM 471/1 Ammunition Policy; Ltr, R. 
S. MacTier, Chief Representative British Ministry 
of War Transport to Gale, 17 Jan 45, SHAEF SGS 
323.3 Ports— Allocation and Development; Cbl, War 
Shipping Adm Antwerp to WSA, 17 Jan 45, ETO 
Cbls, ETO Adm 405; Cbl 171916, NOIC to SHAEF 
et al, 17 Jan 45, SHAEF Cable Log IN, Smith 

80 History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 10-11; VI, 
13th Port, 80-81. 



Remains of Decanting Site, POL Depot, Antwerp, hit by a German V-weapon. 

by the end of the month was again dis- 
charging 18,000 tons per day. With the 
help of Le Havre and Rouen, which were 
contributing 12,000 to 13,000 tons, U.S. 
discharge by that time was averaging be- 
tween 40,000 and 50,000 tons per day, 
double the intake in October. Antwerp 
did not provide the immediate solution 
to all logistic difficulties, but its opening 
at least eliminated port capacity as a 
limiting factor in the support of the U.S. 
armies. For the first time the Communi- 
cations Zone enjoyed a surplus in dis- 
charge capacity, which permitted some 
choice in the use of ports and a more 
economic use of shipping and inland 
transport. It also opened up the prospect 
of relaxing the prohibition on civil im- 
ports. Whatever strain still remained on 

the logistic structure now centered on 
the transportation system, and even this 
was greatly relieved by the shortening of 
the lines of communication. 

(j) Southern France 

Providing the necessary port capacity 
for the support of Allied forces in south- 
ern France proved a far less protracted 
and less worrisome problem than in the 
north. Requirements were considerably 
smaller, for one thing, since plans ini- 
tially called for the support of a force 
of only ten divisions via the southern 
line of communications. The problem 
was further simplified by the fact that 
there existed in southern France a ma- 
jor port, Marseille, the capacity of which 
was known to be ample to meet all Al- 



Searching for Casualties in Wreckage caused by V-bomb hits in Antwerp. 

lied discharge requirements in that area. 

Port discharge facilities in southern 
France had had an important bearing on 
the final decision to launch the Dragoon 
operation. The southern France land- 
ings had long been planned as an opera- 
tion closely linked to Overlord, and as 
an operation best calculated to utilize 
Allied forces in the Mediterranean, par- 
ticularly French divisions. Early in 1944 
the decision to strengthen the cross- 
Channel operation, which necessitated 
the withdrawal of landing craft from the 
Mediterranean, jeopardized the future 
of Anvil, as the southern France opera- 
tion was then called. The decision to 
strengthen Overlord at the expense of 
Anvil led first to the realization that 
the southern operation could not be 

launched simultaneously with the Nor- 
mandy invasion, and then to a prolonged 
argument between the British and U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff as to the best way in which 
to employ Allied forces in the Mediter- 
ranean. The issue still remained unre- 
solved at the time Overlord was 

Anvil had been envisaged as aiding 
Overlord by both drawing enemy forces 
away from the northern bridgehead and 
providing a way by which additional Al- 
lied forces could be committed against 
the enemy in France. At the end of June, 
with Allied forces bogged down in Nor- 
mandy hedgerows and bottomlands, the 
desirability of a diversion in southern 
France designed to forestall enemy rein- 
forcement of the northern defense line 



assumed added importance. The desir- 
ability of having another major port 
through which additional forces could 
be supported became an even more com- 
pelling argument with the acknowledge- 
ment by the Overlord planners that 
there were more divisions available for 
the European theater than could be sup- 
ported through the northern ports. 

At the end of June the shortage of 
shipping, which had been the major 
factor in the postponement of Dragoon, 
no longer obtained. General Eisenhower 
at that time stated the case for the south- 
ern operation in the strongest possible 
terms, arguing that France was the deci- 
sive theater in Europe, and that a rapid 
concentration of the maximum forces 
against the enemy there could be 
achieved only by seizing another major 

On 1 July, following an appeal from 
President Roosevelt, the British finally 
gave their consent to the Dragoon oper- 
ation, although even at this date they 
did not abandon their efforts to have the 
resources of the Mediterranean used else- 
where. In the first days of August, when 
it appeared that the Brittany ports would 
soon fall into Allied hands, they advo- 
cated that the Dragoon forces be brought 
into France via Brittany, thus obviating 
the necessity for an assault of defended 

The proposal appeared to miss the 
whole point of the Supreme Com- 
mander's argument— namely, that logistic 
factors, particularly port capacity, lim- 
ited the number of divisions which could 
be received in the Overlord lodgment. 
Moreover, it was impossible to foresee 
how soon the Brittany ports could be put 
to use. A long delay in employing the 

Dragoon f orces was unacceptable to 
General Eisenhower, who steadfastly in- 
sisted that the interests of Overlord 
would be served best by carrying out the 
southern France landings as planned. 
Loading for Dragoon had already be- 
gun, and on 10 August the signal finally 
went to General Wilson, the Supreme 
Commander in the Mediterranean, in- 
structing him to proceed with the assault 
as planned. 81 

As in Overlord, logistic plans for the 
southern France operation provided for 
support over open beaches in the first 
stages. But reliance on the beaches was 
to be of short duration, and no plans 
were made for elaborate artificial har- 
bors as in the north. 82 Instead, there was 
to be an early shift to existing ports, first 
to Toulon, and eventually to Marseille. 

Toulon, like Cherbourg, was prima- 
rily a naval base, although it had a con- 
siderably greater freight-handling capac- 
ity, estimated at 10,000 tons per day. But 
it normally handled relatively small 
quantities of freight, and was deficient 
in clearance facilities. Nevertheless, the 
planners concluded that Toulon could 
well serve as an interim port, which, 

81 See Pogue, The Supreme Command, pp. 108-17, 
218-27, and Gordon A. Harrison, Cross- Channel 
WAR II (Washington, 1951), pp. 164-73, for the 
detailed story of the Anvil-Dragoon controversy, 
and the following documents in particular: Cbl IZ- 
4741, JSM to SHAEF, 26 Jun 44, Cbl OZ-4191, Br 
COS to Wilson, 5 Aug 44, Cbl WX-76552, U.S. 
CofS to Br COS, 6 Aug 44, and Cbl FX-79418, Wil- 
son to Br COS, 6 Aug 44, all in Cbl Log (in) 
SHAEF-Smith Papers; Cbl FWD-12704, SAC to 
CCS, 8 Aug 44, in Cbl Log (out) SHAEF, Smith 
Papers, and Memo, Smith for Hist Sec ETO, 22 Feb 
45, in Smith Papers. 

82 In part because of the lateness of the season. 
Dragoon was launched a full ten weeks later than 



along with the beaches, could easily han- 
dle the maintenance and build-up re- 
quired for the consolidation of the 
bridgehead and the advance on Mar- 
seille. They hoped that the port would 
be captured by D plus 20 and that it 
would have an initial discharge capacity 
of about 2,000 tons per day. 83 

While Toulon was expected to have 
only passing importance in the mainte- 
nance of the Dragoon forces, Marseille 
was planned to become the main gate- 
way through which the southern forces 
eventually would be sustained. It was, in 
fact, essential for a build-up prerequisite 
to an exploitation up the Rhone valley. 
Marseille, with a population of nearly a 
million, was the second city of France 
and its foremost port. It had long played 
an important role in the commercial life 
of the Mediterranean, serving as early as 
the sixth century B.C. as an outpost of 
the Greek trading complex and coming 
into great prominence with the develop- 
ment of the north African colonies and 
the opening of the Suez Canal. It is 
largely an artificial port, consisting of 
ten basins with approximately thirteen 
miles of quays, almost all of which are 
served by rail. The port could accom- 
modate all types of shipping, and pos- 
sessed ample facilities for the transfer of 
all types of cargo between ships, barge- 
lines, trucks, rail cars, sheds, and ware- 
houses. Clearance facilities were equally 
good, for hard-surfaced highways and 
standard-gauge railways linked the port 
with the major cities of France. In addi- 
tion, the Marseille-Rhone Canal, ex- 

83 Hamilton and Smith, Southern France and 
Alsace, Ch. II, pp. 20-27; Anvil Appreciation and 
Outline Plans, Sec. I and Annex A, 22 Dec 43, 
AFHQ RG 727, Drawer 1104, G-3 OPs P-122. 

tending fifty-seven miles to the north- 
west, connected Marseille with the satel- 
lite Port du Bouc, which had important 
POL receiving and storage facilities, and 
the Rhone River. Marseille did not 
equal Antwerp in size or facilities, but 
it was known to have a peacetime dis- 
charge capacity of 20,000 tons, which was 
ample to meet the estimated daily re- 
quirement of about 15,000 tons for the 
Dragoon forces. 84 

Allied planners in the Mediterranean 
were under no illusions about the 
chances of capturing either Toulon or 
Marseille intact. They had had sufficient 
opportunity to observe the enemy's de- 
structive ability in that theater, having 
witnessed one of the best examples of it 
at Naples. The Seventh Army fully ex- 
pected that it would have to rehabili- 
tate both Toulon and Marseille and 
scheduled the introduction of both en- 
gineer troops and equipment for the re- 
construction task which they envisaged. 85 

The choice of Toulon and Marseille 
as the first major objectives dictated that 
the assault area be within easy striking 
distance of these targets. The sites finally 
selected for the landings lay in the gen- 
eral vicinity of St. Tropez-St. Raphael, 
between thirty and fifty miles northeast 
of Toulon. Landings were successfully 
carried out in that area on 15 August as 
scheduled, and engineer shore groups 
quickly organized the three beaches, 

84 Preliminary Rpt, Strategic Engineering Study 
84, Port and Terminal Facilities, Vol. Ill of Mediter- 
ranean France, prep by Bd of Engrs for Rivers and 
Harbors, Intel Br OCOE, WD, Oct 43, pp. 107-83, 
249-87; GONAD History, 35 (HD); Report of 
Operations, Seventh U.S. Army, I, 327 (HD). 

83 Seventh Army Engineer Staff Section Reports, 
1 January-30 September 1944, p. 10. 



General Destruction at Marseille. Note ships waiting in outer harbor. 

known as Alpha, Delta, and Camel, 
for the build-up of supplies and troops. 
The small neighboring ports of St. 
Raphael, St. Maxime, and St. Tropez 
were also captured and cleared for the 
use of small craft. 

For the first two weeks the bulk of all 
maintenance supplies for the Seventh 
Army was brought ashore via the 
beaches, which averaged more than 10,- 
ooo tons per day. Logistic planners had 
calculated that the support of the Dra- 
goon force would require that about 
278,000 tons of supplies be passed over 
the beaches in the first thirty days. 80 In 

88 Hamilton and Smith, Southern France and 
Alsace, Ch. V, pp. 37-38. 

the first month the beaches easily met 
this goal, handling 280,000 tons. 87 

Meanwhile both Toulon and Mar- 
seille were captured earlier than ex- 
pected, providing a welcome bonus in 
port discharge capacity. The Seventh 
Army's operational plans had assigned 
to French forces the mission of captur- 
ing the two ports, giving first priority to 
the seizure of Toulon. The unexpected 
ease with which the landings were ac- 
complished made it possible to improve 
on this plan. By 20 August French forces 
had already driven past Toulon to a 
point midway between that port and 

87 Seventh Army AAR, Annex 287, TC Sec-Beach 
Opns Summary, 15 Aug— 19 Sep 44, Opns Rpts, L- 



Close-up of Damaged Dock Facilities and sunken craft, i September 1944- 

Marseille, creating the inviting oppor- 
tunity of striking at both ports simul- 
taneously. Such attacks were immedi- 
ately ordered, and after a week of savage 
fighting Toulon and Marseille capitu- 
lated on the same day, 28 August. Tou- 
lon was captured a full week ahead of 
schedule, and Marseille almost four 
weeks earlier than expected. 88 

The condition of the two ports at- 
tested once more to the enemy's appre- 
ciation of their value for the Allies if 
surrendered intact. The demolitions and 
blocking do not appear to have equaled 
those at Cherbourg, where the enemy's 

88 Seventh Army Report of Operations, I, 151, 
167; Hamilton and Smith, Southern France and 
Alsace, Chs. XIII and XV. 

destructive art apparently reached its 
height. Nevertheless, both Toulon and 
Marseille were useless for the moment. 
The first reconnaissance at Marseille in- 
dicated that all channels and entrances 
were completely blocked by sunken 
ships. Both the inner harbor and the 
waters beyond the outer mole were sown 
with hundreds of marine mines; jetties, 
quays, and cranes had been blasted; and 
the entire port area was mined and booby- 
trapped. Toulon had suffered even more 
severely, Allied naval and air bombard- 
ment having made a contribution to the 

Since the two ports had been captured 
at the same time there was little point 
in following the original plan of giving 



priority to the restoration of Toulon. 
Marseille possessed better facilities for 
both discharge and clearance, and was 
better located to support the advance 
northward. After the preliminary recon- 
naissance, therefore, it was decided to 
concentrate most personnel and equip- 
ment resources at Marseille and to bring 
that port to its fullest development as 
quickly as possible. 89 

In accordance with this decision three 
Liberty ships, standing by with port con- 
struction personnel and equipment, in- 
cluding the 6th Port headquarters which 
was to operate the port, were immedi- 
ately called forward and were unloaded 
from anchorage by dukws. The first sur- 
vey had revealed that the southern end 
of the port could be restored quickly for 
lighterage operations. Construction was 
initiated first in that area, therefore, to 
provide hards and ramps for LCT's and 
dukws. Meanwhile U.S. naval units 
started on the task of clearing the har- 
bor of mines and obstacles. They de- 
clared one basin free of mines as early 
as 3 September, and port ships began 
discharging shortly thereafter. Although 
seventy-five vessels had been scuttled in 
the harbor, a hydrographic survey re- 
vealed that channels and entrances for- 
tunately were not as completely blocked 
as first appeared, and it was found that 
Liberty ships could safely pass around 
sunken ships and into the harbor. 

Onshore rehabilitation was accom- 
plished entirely by the 1051st Port Con- 
struction and Repair Group, supple- 
mented by an engineer general service 
regiment and a dump truck company. It 
was unnecessary for the most part to con- 

88 Seventh Army Report of Operations, I, 328—29; 
CON AD History, pp. 41-42. 

struct timber-pile wharves or quays, as 
at Cherbourg, since sufficient berthage 
was made available by removing debris 
and patching quay walls. Rehabilitation 
was rapid, therefore, and on 15 Septem- 
ber Marseille received its first Liberty 
ship for direct ship-to-shore discharge. 
Within another ten days sixteen along- 
side berths and twenty-three offshore 
berths were in use. 90 Toulon had been 
brought into use on 20 September, and 
Port du Bouc, mainly for bulk POL re- 
ception, on the 9th. 

The rapid recovery of the ports made 
it possible to abandon the beaches some- 
what earlier than anticipated. Alpha 
Beach was closed out as early as 9 Sep- 
tember; unloading at Delta ceased on 
the 16th; and the closing of Camel 
Beach on the 28th of the month brought 
all movement over the beaches to an 
end. 91 During the period of their opera- 
tion the beaches handled well over 300,- 
000 tons of supply, and movements 
through the ports in September brought 
the cumulative cargo receipts, exclusive 
of POL and vehicles, to approximately 
500,000 tons by the end of that month. 
In October the southern French ports 
discharged a total of nearly 400,000 tons, 
averaging about 13,000 tons per day. 92 

90 Seventh Army Engineer Staff Section Reports, 1 
Jan-30 Sep 44, p. 10 (Opn Rpts); History of TC 
ETO, V, Ch, VII (SOLOC) > 3; CONAD History, pp. 
40-41; Seventh Army Rpt of Opns, I, 330-31; Delta 
Base Section History, III, App. I, 6th Port Head- 
quarters History, 13; Final Report of the Chief En- 
gineer, ETO, I, 276-77. 

91 Delta Base Section History, Vol. Ill, App. I, 
6th Port Headquarters History, 304; Cbl B-16776, 
Devers to Eisenhower, 28 Sep. 44, SHAEF Cable 
Log (in) 1944-45, Smith Papers. 

w Delta Base Section History,. 6th Port History, 
Nov 44-Mar 45, Exhibit B-8. The above is a mini- 
mum figure. There is wide disagreement in the 
discharge statistics for the southern France ports, 



With discharges of this magnitude no 
difficulties in the support of the 6th 
Army Group were foreseen. At the end 
of October it was decided to turn the 
port of Toulon back to the French. 93 It 
had been used almost exclusively for the 
import of civil affairs supplies. Port 
du Bouc's chief function was to receive 
bulk POL; relatively minor tonnages of 
general cargo passed through that port. 
Marseille consequently accounted for the 
great bulk of all other classes of sup- 
ply discharges in southern France, as was 
originally intended. At the end of Oc- 
tober fifty-four berths were in use in the 
port, thirty-two of which could accom- 
modate Liberty ships. 94 

While port discharge thus posed no 
serious problem, the southern line of 
communications at times suffered from 
the same limiting factor which plagued 
operation in the north— port clearance. 
A bottleneck first developed early in Oc- 
tober, when clearance failed to keep pace 
with the rising discharge rate. By the 
middle of the month more than 40,000 
tons had accumulated on the quays, forc- 
ing a slowdown in unloadings of all 
cargo except ammunition and items 
which could be cleared most easily. The 
principal cause, as in the north, was 
inadequate rail clearance capacity. For 
several days in October it was necessary 
to press every available vehicle into serv- 

another tabulation in the 6th Port History (Ex- 
hibits F, F-2, and F-5) giving the total of 505,584 
tons for October (of which 404,365 tons are at- 
tributed to Marseille), and the History of TC ETO 
(Chart 8A of Monthly Progress Reports, App. 7, in 
Pt. Ill of Vol. VII) giving the total of 524,894 tons, 
with no breakdown as to individual port perfor- 

93 6th Port Headquarters' History, Jul-Oct 44, 
App. I of Vol. Ill, Delta Base Section History, 19. 
91 Ibid,, Nov 44-Mar 45, Exhibit I. 

ice, including horse-drawn wagons, to 
move the backlog of supplies. 95 Clear- 
ance, and therefore discharge, was again 
affected in January, February, and March 
1945, when snowbound railways and 
shortages of rail cars, locomotives, and 
engine crews limited the rail traffic for- 
ward of the Delta Base Section. 96 For 
the most part, therefore, the southern 
line of communications was unable to 
provide the surplus capacity which, it 
had been hoped, would enable it to aid 
in the support of the 12th Army Group, 
although several divisions intended for 
movement through the northern ports 
were routed through Marseille in the 
fall of 1944. 

In November, December, and January 
Marseille and its satellite, Port du Bouc, 
handled approximately 1,270,000 tons of 
general cargo, averaging 13,800 tons per 
day, nearly 90 percent of it at Marseille. 
(Table 4)^ Work continued in these 
months to increase Marseille's discharge 
and clearance facilities, and by the end 
of January the number of available 
berths had risen to seventy-two, of which 
forty-five were suitable for Liberties. 

The port was operated from the be- 
ginning by the 6th Port headquarters 
(Col. R. Hunter Clarkson), an organiza- 
tion with long experience in North 
Africa and Italy. By January the port 
employed an average of 18,000 men, of 
which nearly 6,000 were U.S. military 

95 Ibid., Jul-Oct 44, 14; History of TC ETO, V, 
Ch. VII (SOLOC), 9-10; Memo, Gilland, Deputy 
CG COMZ NATO to Adcock, G-4 6th A Gp, 15 Oct 
44, ETO, Memos for Larkin. 

90 6th Port History, Nov 44-Mar 45, 12-13. 

07 Ibid., Exhibit B, li-8, and D. Transportation 
Corps figures are higher, totaling 15,600 tons per 
day for this period. History of TC ETO, App. 7, in 
Pt. Ill of Vol. VII. 


Table 4 — Tonnages Discharged at Continental Ports: June 1944-ApRiL 1945 

[Long Tons a ] 

Year and Month 
















356 219 
348 820 

iTJ , JUT 



193, 154 
187 955 
1 en 1 

IJ\J } J. JO 


j uiy 





A 1 1 Cri 1 <s t 

9 4-QQ 
7$ 108 




















° Exclusive of bulk POL and vehicles. 
b Including Granville. 

Source: Historical Report of the Transportation Corps, ETO, Vol. VII, April-June 1945, App. 7, Table 8A. 

personnel (chiefly port battalions), the 
remainder consisting of French civilian 
labor, prisoners of war, and a small num- 
ber of French Indochinese troops. 98 

(4) The Shipping Tie-up 

In the first six months of operations 
inadequate port discharge capacity on 
the northern lines of communication 
had inevitable repercussions on other 
parts of the logistic structure. Its effect 
on the use of shipping—both coasters and 
ocean-going ships— was particularly seri- 

The Combined Chiefs of Staff, rec- 
ognizing the great need for shallow-draft 

98 6th Port History, Nov 44-Mar 45, Exhibit A. 

shipping in the early stages of Overlord, 
had allocated 625,000 dead-weight tons 
of coasters for the first weeks of the oper- 
ation. They had intended that this ship- 
ping should gradually be replaced by 
ocean-going vessels, leaving about 100,- 
000 tons of coasters in cross-Channel 
service after D plus 42. Shortly before 
D Day, Overlord logistic planners, fol- 
lowing a re-examination of shipping re- 
quirements in light of the enlargement 
of the operation and the planned ac- 
celeration in the troop build-up, got per- 
mission to retain an additional 150,000 
tons of coaster shipping after D plus 42. 
They had argued that additional shal- 
low-draft shipping would be needed for 
use inside the Mulberries, where ocean- 
going ships could not be accepted; for 



the various special express services, in 
which rapid loading and discharging 
were required; and for taking fuller ad- 
vantage of the capacity of the small 
ports. Modifications in the invasion plan 
also led to an increase in the allocation 
of MT shipping." 

Providing the needed coaster shipping 
for Overlord placed an additional strain 
on the economy of the United Kingdom, 
which relied heavily on coastal shipping 
for the movement of iron, coal, steel, and 
other commodities; The allocation of 
625,000 tons to Overlord, representing 
about two thirds of the entire British 
coaster fleet, caused a drastic curtailment 
in movements and, in turn, a temporary 
shutdown of about one fourth of the 
United Kingdom's blast furnaces. Brit- 
ish authorities naturally desired that 
coaster shipping be released from mili- 
tary use as early as possible. 100 

From the very start of the invasion 
there were shortages in practically every 
category of shipping, and hope quickly 
faded that shallow-draft vessels could be 
returned to coastal service as originally 
scheduled. Before the end of June U.S. 
authorities took steps to have additional 
LST's and MT shipping made available 
from the United States, and to have the 
release of coasters postponed. 101 The 
shortage remained critical throughout 
the summer and fall. In September, con- 
trary to plans, 560,000 tons of coaster 
shipping were still engaged in cross- 

"Ltr, Gale to PAOs Committee, sub: Overlord 
Shipping Requirements, 17 Mar 44, and Cbl 
W-3614L CCS to SHAEF, 13 May 44, SHAEF AG 
400.22-1 Shipments and Tonnage Allocations 1944. 

100 Cbl 7367, U.S. Mil Attache, London, to U.S. 
Secy of State, 8 Sep 44, OPD Cbl Files. 

101 See Logistical Support I } Ch. X, Sec. 9. 

Channel service, and in November the 
total exceeded 600,000. 102 

Poor turnaround performance was the 
initial cause for the shortage, resulting 
in part from piecemeal or selective dis- 
charge on the far shore, in part to inter- 
ruptions from bad weather, diversions 
from one port or beach to another, and 
unexpectedly long deadlining of vessels 
for repairs. An analysis of the worst pe- 
riod, late October and early November, 
revealed that sixty-three round trip voy- 
ages had required 1 ,42 2 ship-days in- 
stead of the planned 606, representing a 
turnaround time 1 35 percent greater 
than expected. The repair problem be- 
came particularly acute in November 
and December when 20 to 25 percent of 
the total coaster fleet was immobilized. 103 

At the root of these difficulties lay the 
shortage of deepwater berths on the Con- 
tinent, which necessitated the extended 
use of shallow-draft facilities. Not until 
December, after Antwerp came into 
operation, was it possible to release 50,- 
000 tons of coaster tonnage, and then 
only by withdrawals from support of 2 1 
Army Group. The U.S. allocation was 
actually increased during the month. 104 

The need for a large coaster fleet con- 
tinued to the very end of the war. Early 
in 1945 SHAEF refused to accept a re- 
duction of the coaster allocation below 
500,000 tons, which it insisted was the 
absolute minimum to meet operational 
needs. It actually desired a larger alloca- 
tion, in part to obtain more flexibility 

102 Cbl, U.S. Mil Attache to Secy of State, 8 Sep 
44; Mil Shipments Priority Mtg, 24 Nov 44, SHAEF 
AG 337-18. 

103 Mil Shipments Priority Mtgs, 5 Aug, 3, 10, and 
24 Nov, and 9 Dec 44. 

1U Ibid., Mtgs of 2, 9, and 30 Dec 44. 



in the use of ports, and in part because 
coasters were the most economical means 
for coal shipments. At the end of Feb- 
ruary SHAEF again asked the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff for additional tonnage, re- 
questing that all of the twenty-six Baltic 
type of coasters then under construction 
in the United States be allotted to the 
European theater to augment the avail- 
able fleet. 105 In March the Combined 
Chiefs promised that all but three would 
be sent to Europe. 106 

The dearth of deepwater berths on the 
Continent had an even more far-reaching 
impact on ocean shipping. The theater's 
inability to berth and discharge all the 
deep-draft ships arriving from the United 
States inevitably led to an accumulation 
of shipping in both U.K. and continental 
waters— shipping which could be ill- 
spared from the world shipping pool. 

The War Department first called the 
theater's attention to the problem in 
mid-July 1944, pointing to the many 
commodity-loaders and pre-stowed ships 
being held at anchor in the United King- 
dom. Brig. Gen, Robert H. Wylie, the 
Deputy Chief of Transportation for Op- 
erations, presented figures showing that 
the European theater was getting more 
ships than it could handle, and ques- 
tioned its justification for requesting 285 
ships for August loading. He reminded 
General Ross and other theater officials 

105 A Baltic-type coaster is a vessel of about 1,800 
gross tons designed to operate on short sea routes, 
modeled on coasters in use in northern European 
coastal traffic. 

10 «Cbl FWD--17429, SHAEF to CCS, 28 Feb 45, 
and Cbl W-54347, CCS to SHAEF, 17 Mar 45, 
SHAEF AG 400.22-1 No. i, 1945 Allocation of 
Tonnages— Policy. 

that the shipping situation was critical, 
and that the retention of ships under 
load for excessive periods only aggra- 
vated the world-wide shortage by length- 
ening the turnaround time. General Ross 
could not agree that the theater had 
been wasteful in the use of shipping, and 
argued that the pipeline must be kept 
full, particularly for the eventuality of 
a breakout from Normandy. 'Tm in the 
habit," he said, "of rather seeing a fellow 
spill a little over the side of the bucket 
and get his feet wet, than to worry about 
his brocade shoes." 107 

Before the end of the month the the- 
ater modified its requests somewhat, but 
stated that its "irreducible" minimum 
for August loading (September delivery) 
was 250 ships, of which 175 were in- 
tended for continental discharge, the 
other 75 for the United Kingdom. It es- 
timated its needs for succeeding months 
as averaging about 265 ships, an increas- 
ing percentage of which it planned to 
send directly to continental ports. These 
requirements were based on estimated 
discharge capacities of 27,000 tons per 
day in September, and 40,000 tons there- 
after, estimates which proved far too 
optimistic. 108 

Early in August the War Department 
presented additional figures to show that 
the theater was building up an exces- 
sively large bank of ships and that its dis- 
charge performance did not justify the 

107 Tel Conf between Ross, Eyster, et al., and Wylie 
et ah, i& Jul 44, SHAEF G-4 Troops Flow 121/1 
GDP-i, 69. 

108 Cbl EX-40282, Lee to Gross, 29 Jul 44, SHAEF 
AG 400-22-1 Shipments and Tonnage Allocations; 
Mil Shipments Priority Mtg, 29 Jul 44, SHAEF AG 



estimates of its needs. It pointed out that 
of 41 presto wed ships called forward 
from the United Kingdom, 10 had been 
held at anchor from 23 to 30 days, and 
that of 61 commodity-loaders called for- 
ward, 31 had been held at anchor more 
than 7 days and 9 of them from 23 to 
30 days. Prestowed vessels thus far had 
averaged 461/2 days in European waters 
between arrival iti the United Kingdom 
and return sailing to the United States 
following continental discharge. 

The War Department argued that this 
immobilization of shipping hazarded the 
support of operations in other parts of 
the world, and was unjustifiable in view 
of the frequency of convoys and the 
lessened submarine menace. By the end 
of September, it pointed out, the theater 
would have received 219 ships for con- 
tinental discharge in that month alone, 
44 more than ETOUSA had stated as its 
requirements. The theater, it stated, was 
unduly concerned about meeting future 
requirements, for sufficient shipping was 
available to support all operations in 
progress or planned if it were properly 
used. Once again the War Department 
assured ETOUSA that the current pro- 
gram of sailings from the United States 
would more than match the theater's 
most optimistic estimates of discharge 
capabilities, and that loading could easily 
be stepped up whenever the discharge 
rate indicated that the backlog of ship- 
ping was being reduced. But it warned 
that the theater must accept responsi- 
bility for deferring shipments from the 
United States when it became apparent 
that congestion would develop. It spe- 
cifically asked that commodity-loaded 
vessels be phased so that they were not 

held at anchor longer than one convoy 
interval, or approximately seven days. 109 

The theater defended its shipping pol- 
icy by noting that it was simply impos- 
sible to predict the progress of tactical 
operations accurately enough to sched- 
ule the arrival of shipping in exact con- 
sonance with needs. Weather conditions 
were also unpredictable, often interrupt- 
ing discharge and delaying the towing of 
floating equipment to France. Finally, it 
argued that in the absence of suitable 
quays, discharge in French ports was 
still essentially a lighterage operation, 
which accounted for some of the slow- 
ness in unloading. 110 

Theater shipping officials were well 
aware of the serious backlog which was 
forming off the beaches and ports of 
Normandy, but did not feel justified in 
"turning off the tap" in view of the 
planned acceleration in the movement 
of divisions to the Continent in Septem- 
ber. The Communications Zone ob- 
jected strongly to any reduction in the 
program, arguing that priority demands 
for supplies could be met only if suffi- 
cient stocks were held offshore. 111 

The current practice was nevertheless 
recognized as both dangerous and waste- 
ful. The Allied Naval Commander was 
concerned that congestion of shipping 
would not only invite attack from the 
sea and air, but that shipping in open 

109 Cbls W-76034, AGWAR to ETO, 5 Aug 44, 
W-81787, Gross to Somervell, 16 Aug 44, and W- 
81853, Lutes to Lee, 17 Aug 44, SHAEF AG 400.22-1 
Shipments and Tonnage Allocations. 

110 Cbl EX-42044, Lee to Somervell, 8 Aug 44, 
SHAEF AG 400.22-1. 

111 Shipping Note for CAO, G-4 Mov and Tn, 19 
Aug 44, SHAEF G-4 Mov and Tn War Diary /J nl 
3014/22 Mov, Folders 13-22; Min, Continental Mov 
and Shipping Committee, Mtg of 16 Aug 44, ETO 
001 Meetings. 



anchorage would soon suffer from equi- 
noctial gales. He recommended limit- 
ing the number of vessels authorized to 
be in the U.S. area at any one time. 
One of the major causes for the con- 
gestion, selective unloading, was finally 
recognized as a bad practice by both 
SHAEF and COMZ officials. Late in 
August they ordered the practice 
stopped. 112 Apparently encouraged by 
tactical developments, the theater at the 
same time accepted without protest a 
proposed cut of approximately ten ships 
from each of six convoys sailing from 
the United States in the four weeks be- 
tween 12 September and 10 October. 
In the end the theater canceled a total 
of 600,000 tons of supplies of all classes 
which had been scheduled for delivery 
by the end of November. 113 

These measures had no effect in Sep- 
tember, and shipping continued to pile 
up in European waters. Late in the 
month it was estimated that only 90 
ships would be discharged that month, 
and the prediction was made that even 
if unloadings were increased to 150 
there would still be 271 on hand at the 
end of September. 114 

On 6 October the War Department 
announced a further cut of forty ships 
from European sailings. This time the 

112 Ltr, COMZ to Normandy Base Sec, sub: Dis- 
charge of Liberty Ships, 20 Aug 44, EUCOM 560 
AT, Transports, Vessels, and Boats in General II; 
400.22-1; Mil Shipments Priority Mtg, 26 Aug 44, 
SHAEF AG 337-18; Shipping Note for CAO, 19 
Aug 44; Memo, Stratton for CofT, sub: Discharge 
of Ocean-Going Vessels on Continent, 6 Sep 44, 
EUCOM 400.22 Shipments General. 

113 COMZ G-4 History, I, 81. 

114 Ltr, Philip D. Reed, Mission for Economic 
Affairs, to Lee, 21 Sep 44, ETO 381/560 Shipping 

theater protested vigorously. Rather 
than attempt to justify its earlier re- 
quests entirely on the basis of predicted 
port performance, however, it now of- 
fered a truer explanation for its exor- 
bitant demands. Admittedly, the dis- 
charge rate had failed to come anywhere 
near the 40,000-ton figure which had 
been predicted a month before. The 
shortage of inland transportation had 
aggravated the problem by making it 
impossible to move the major continen- 
tal supply reserves out of the Cotentin. 
Only rations, gasoline, and ammunition, 
plus a small tonnage of highly selective 
items, were being moved forward to the 
armies. In the absence of adequate dis- 
charge capacity, General Lee explained, 
the large backlog of ships had been the 
theater's only salvation by making it 
possible to meet high priority demands 
for specific items of supply. In other 
words, the large bank of ships in Euro- 
pean waters had been the necessary sub- 
stitute for supply depots which should 
have been established on the Continent. 
The loaded ships were in effect serving 
as floating warehouses. 

While port capacity remained almost 
stationary, the theater's supply needs 
continued to grow with its troop 
strength, and the COMZ commander 
now urgently appealed to the War De- 
partment to meet what he referred to as 
"conservative estimates" of the theater's 
needs. These amounted to 1 39 more 
ships than the War Department offered 
to dispatch for October, November, and 
December. Lee estimated that the thea- 
ter's discharge capabilities would be 
more than doubled by December, basing 
his prediction on the expected perform- 
ance of Le Havre, Rouen, and Antwerp, 



and on the transfer of the Arromanches 
Mulberry to American use. He pre- 
dicted that the backlog would be vir- 
tually eliminated by that time and that 
some discharge capacity would actually 
be wasted by mid-December if the War 
Department carried out its proposed re- 
ductions. 115 In effect, however, the thea- 
ter was demanding a bank of shipping 
not only large enough to insure full 
utilization of all continental berths 
which it forecast would become avail- 
able, but, failing the development of 
adequate discharge capacity, one which 
would hold a large portion of the the- 
ater's reserves at anchorage off the ports 
and beaches and thus permit flexibility 
in the selection of items for which emer- 
gency need might develop. 116 

This time the War Department could 
not be shaken. The retention of ship- 
ping in the European theater, it claimed, 
was already threatening to strangle oper- 
ations in other parts of the world. The 
War Department could not view with 
composure theater practices which, as 
related by General Lee himself, had re- 
cently made it necessary to call forward 
nineteen commodity ships loaded with 
engineer supplies to obtain an average 
of only 150 tons of priority cargo from 
each vessel. 117 On 9 October it notified 
the theater that the new sailing sched- 
ules would be followed until ETOUSA 
had demonstrated a capacity to unload 
at a faster rate and until the bank of 

115 Some of Antwerp *s capacity actually went un- 
used at precisely that time, though not for lack of 

118 Cbl EX-53219, Lee to Somervell 8 Oct 44, OPD 
Cbl Files; Ltr, Lee to Reed, 26 Sep 44, ETO 381/560 
Shipping (Overlord); COMZ G-4 History, I, 81. 

117 Cbl, Lee to Somervell, 8 Oct 44. 

ships had been substantially reduced. 118 
The War Department's action ap- 
peared amply warranted by the thea- 
ter's performance, for the backlog of 
shipping continued to grow. By 20 Oc- 
tober there were at least 240 ships in 
European waters, of which about 140, 
mostly commodity-loaders, consisted of 
Liberties under load in the United 
Kingdom. 119 In view of this obviously 
deteriorating situation the War Depart- 
ment imposed additional restrictions. 
On 20 October General Somervell told 
the theater that it would get no more 
commodity-loaded ships with rations, 
vehicles, or, with certain exceptions, am- 
munition until it had reduced its bank 
of such ships to a reasonable level. 120 In 
reply General Lee made his most urgent 
appeal yet, citing figures to show that 
practically all ammunition, ration, and 
vehicle ships had been called forward 
for discharge, and repeating the argu- 
ment that the War Department's cuts 
would not only result in a loss of the 
selectivity which had made supply of the 
armies possible thus far, but result in 
serious over-all shortages. 121 

General Somervell was unmoved. The 
shipping situation, he said, simply would 
not permit the use of ships as base depot 
storage to the extent of nearly 200 com- 
modity-loaders, some of which had been 
"on the hook" more than 60 days. He 
agreed that the theater should have a 
safe working margin of ships on hand 
at all times— perhaps 75 or 80— to pro- 

118 Cbl WARX-43793, CofT WD to ETO, 9 Oct 
44, OPD Cbl Files. 

119 Mil Shipments Priority Mtgs, 7, 13, and 21 Oct 
44, SHAEF AG 337-18; COMZ G-4 History, I, 86. 

1M COMZ G-4 History, I, 88. 
121 Cbl E-57846, Lee to Somervell, 26 Oct 44, OPD 
Cbl Files. 



vide a measure of selectivity. But he re- 
jected as entirely misleading the thea- 
ter's figures on the number of ships 
which had been called forward to the 
continental ports for discharge. The fact 
remained that projected discharges in 
terms of completely unloaded vessels 
had not been realized; the theater had 
only released about 70 ships for return 
to the United States in October. In the 
War Department's view the theater had 
consistently overestimated its capabili- 
ties to receive supplies. The War De- 
partment, already under attack from 
shipping authorities for inefficient use 
of shipping, refused to accept the thea- 
ter's assurances of improved discharge, 
and saw no alternative but to deny the 
theater's requests until it had demon- 
strated its ability to unload ships and 
restore them to useful service. 

Two weeks later the War Department 
once more pointed out how unreason- 
able the theater's requests had been in 
view of its reception capacity. It cited 
the monthly shipping requests since 
July, which had they been granted, 
would have resulted in a bank of 500 
idle ships in European waters. In his 
strongest reproof to date General Somer- 
vell wrote: "It is necessary . . . that 
your headquarters cease repeating by 
rote figures previously arrived at and 
take a realistic view of the situation. To 
do otherwise," he observed, "destroys 
confidence in the estimates, and delays 
our supply of the equipment which you 
can actually handle." 122 Meanwhile he 
sent Brig. Gen. John M. Franklin, the 
Chief of Transportation's director of 
water transportation and a former presi- 

123 Ltr, Somervell to Lee, 18 Nov 44, Hq ASF, 
European Theater— last half 1944. 

dent of the United States Lines, to France 
to aid theater authorities in improving 
the turnaround of shipping and to 
gather more realistic estimates on the 
theater's future discharge capabilities. 123 

The War Department's concern over 
shipping was by no means confined to 
the European theater. The Pacific areas, 
particularly the Southwest Pacific, had 
also consistently overestimated their dis- 
charge capacity and had followed the 
same wasteful practice of holding loaded 
vessels at anchor. Meanwhile, Mediter- 
ranean requirements had unexpectedly 
risen sharply as civil relief needs claimed 
attention, contributing to the world- 
wide shortage. 

By the fall of 1944 shipping agencies 
in the United States saw the need for 
drastic measures to impress upon area 
commanders the necessity of releasing 
shipping and to enforce a more rigid 
accountability on the handling of ves- 
sels. On 14 November the War Shipping 
Administration brought the problem 
before the Joint Military Transporta- 
tion Committee, and a few days later 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acting on a 
proposal of General Somervell, ap- 
proved and sent to the President their 
recommendations on the steps to be 
taken. Included were proposed reduc- 
tions in allocations of vessels to the 
U.K. import program, British and Rus- 
sian lend-lease, and civil relief. 124 

123 Cbls WAR-53834, Somervell to Lee, 28 Oct 44, 
and WARX-56447, 2 Nov 44; Cbl 49595, Marshall 
to Eisenhower, 20 Oct 44, OPD Cbl Files; Memo, 
Gross for OPD, sub: Cargo Shipping for the ETO, 
11 Nov 44, OPD 400 ETO No. 113, 15 Nov 44 Cargo 
Shipping for ETO. 

124 Memo, Marshall for JCS,. sub: Remedies for 
Existing and Prospective Shortages in Cargo Ship- 
ping, 17 Nov 44, with Incl, Study by Gen Somervell, 
same sub, OPD 560 Section VI, Cases 207-25. 



President Roosevelt disapproved of 
most of the reductions and insisted that 
additional efforts be made to improve 
the use of shipping and to meet require- 
ments from the United States, thus 
throwing the problem back into the 
laps of the military shipping agencies. 
This left them with little choice but 
to correct some of the abuses of current 
shipping practices. 

Early in December the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff approved a memorandum defin- 
ing policy on the use of shipping. It 
specifically prohibited the use of ocean 
shipping for storage purposes, ordered 
that shipping needs henceforth be based 
on a realistic appraisal of discharge ca- 
pacities, and ordered a scaling down of 
supply levels to bring them within the 
capabilities of shipping. Selective un- 
loading was prohibited save in the early 
phases of amphibious operations, as was 
also the use of ocean-going vessels for 
local, short hauls, a practice which the 
European theater had followed in mov- 
ing supplies from the United Kingdom 
to the Continent. 

Shortly thereafter the Joint Military 
Transportation Committee laid down a 
detailed reporting system by which the- 
ater commanders were thereafter re- 
quired to report periodically on the 
status of all ships. Its obvious purpose 
was to disclose flagrant cases of ship 
retentions, to keep area commanders 
constantly conscious of the turnaround 
problem, and to provide planners with 
more reliable data on which to allot 
shipping. Within another few weeks this 
requirement was followed by instruc- 
tions to the theaters that they establish 
shipping control agencies to co-ordinate 
the use of shipping within the theaters 

and to enforce strict economy in its 
use. 125 Such a watchdog agency, known 
as the Shipping Control Board, had al- 
ready been established in the European 
theater in December. 126 

The War Department's several ac- 
tions of November and December left 
the theater with no choice but to re- 
lease ships at a faster rate. One of its 
first measures following General Somer- 
vell's firm stand on allocations was to 
consider the return to the United States 
of twenty-five of thirty-five Liberties 
which it had been using to transfer sup- 
plies from the United Kingdom to the 
Continent. Another step was to release 
ships still partially loaded with supplies 
not urgently needed. In this way about 
35,000 tons of pierced-steel landing mats 
and other airfield runway surfacing were 
returned to the United States in twenty- 
one vessels, only to be shipped back to 
the theater on the next sailing. The 
New York Port naturally frowned on 
the practice, pointing out that cargo 
capacity equivalent to about six ships 
had been wasted. In any case, these 
measures actually brought little imme- 
diate improvement. The Liberties used 
in the cross-Channel service, for exam- 
ple, were not released until December. 

Meanwhile the theater was given am- 
ple evidence that the War Department 
was keeping critical watch over its han- 
dling of shipping. Late in November, 
taking note of the idle vessels off south- 

"» Cbls WX-74985, JCS to Theater Commanders, 
9 Dec 44, and WX-20236, CCS to SHAEF, 13 Jan 
45, SHAEF SGS 540 Shipping Problems; D. S. Bal- 
lentine, U.S. Naval Logistics in the Second World 
War (Princeton, 1947), pp. 239-43. 

120 Cbl S-76892, SHAEF to CCS, 28 Jan 45, SHAEF 
AG 400.22-1 No. 1 1945 Allocations of Tonnages- 



ern France, the War Department cut 
nine ships from the December sailings 
to Marseille. At the same time it called 
attention to the fact that of the last two 
convoys arriving in the theater, both 
of them loaded with supplies of the 
highest priority, only two vessels had 
been called forward for discharge. 127 

A few weeks later, when, despite the 
recent opening of Antwerp, it appeared 
that the northern ports would not 
achieve the target of 200 discharges for 
that month, the theater accepted with- 
out protest a proposed diversion of six- 
teen January sailings to Marseille, with 
the understanding that it might later 
request an increase if warranted by need 
and discharge capabilities. This left the 
northern ports with 175 instead of the 
scheduled 191 for that month. 128 

The long-awaited opening of Ant- 
werp at the end of November promised 
to solve not only the discharge problem 
but the closely related shipping tie-up. 
Meanwhile the theater had also had 
some success in raising tonnage receipts 
by increasing the hatch rates. In mid- 
November, faced with what amounted 
to an ultimatum from the War Depart- 
ment on the use of shipping, port com- 
manders instituted competition between 
unloading crews, offering special incen- 
tives in the form of awards and pass 
privileges to winners. These measures, 
in addition to more efficient port or- 
ganization and operating procedures, 
brought about a rise in the hatch rate 

127 COMZ G-4 History, I, 95. 

128 Cbl E-75769, ETO to AGWAR, 18 Dec 44, 
ETO In and Out Cbls, ETO Adm 397; COMZ G-4 
History, I, 105. 

from 327 to 457 tons per ship per day 
by December. 129 

These improvements had hardly be- 
gun to have their effect when they were 
partially canceled by tactical develop- 
ments. The German counteroffensive of 
mid-December resulted in a sudden em- 
bargo on shipments into the forward 
areas. Since few base or intransit storage 
facilities were available to U.S. forces 
in the Antwerp area, this stoppage in 
movements had its inevitable result in 
a saturated port and a partial shutdown 
in unloading operations. This again 
threatened to aggravate the shipping 
backlog. Foreseeing the chain of effects, 
the theater on 23 December voluntarily 
requested an immediate reduction of 
an additional twenty-four sailings in the 
next convoys. 130 

The month o£ December, which had 
opened so hopefully, had a daily dis- 
charge record of only slightly above 30,- 
000 tons, and January's record was 
hardly better. Consequently the thea- 
ter's earlier requests for 240 commodity- 
loaded vessels per month were certain 
to exceed its capabilities. Early in Janu- 
ary, therefore, on the basis of more con- 
servative estimates of discharge provided 
by General Franklin, the War Depart- 
ment cut the allocation for January and 
February to 175 per month. 131 

The bank of shipping shrank some- 
what in January— to 116 idle vessels— 

129 COMZ G~4 History, I, 89-93. 

130 Cbl EX-77774, ETO to AGWAR, 23 Dec 44, 
ETO In and Out Cbls, Adm 397. 

131 The theater had discharged 115 in November 
and 13O in December, Memo, Gross for Somervell, 
sub: ETO Shipping Situation,. 4 Jan 45, Hq ASF 
Shipping 1945— Somervell file; TWX E-85355, 
COMZ to SHAEF, 12 Jan 45, SHAEF AG 400.22-1 
Allocation of Tonnages— Policy, I, 1945. 



but limited discharges that month led 
to the realization that the requested 
schedules would result in added accumu- 
lations o£ shipping in European waters. 
On 3 February the theater therefore 
asked for a cutback of thirty vessels 
scheduled for March arrival, and certain 
diversions to Marseille. 132 Almost simul- 
taneously the War Department an- 
nounced that it was cutting the March 
allocation by 61 ships, reducing" the 
sailings from 233 to 172. 133 

ETOUSA objected to this drastic re- 
duction, partly on the basis of antici- 
pated improvements in rail clearance 
from the port of Marseille, which had 
been the biggest bottleneck on the 
southern line of communications, 134 and 

132 Cbl EX-74290, G-4 ETO to AGWAR, 3 Feb 
45, ETO Cbls, Adm 400. 

133 Cbl WARX-30713, AGWAR to ETO, 2 Feb 45, 
Adm 407. 

134 Cbl EX-97331, ETO to AGWAR, 11 Feb 45, 
Adm 400. 

succeeded in getting sixteen ships re- 
stored to the March allocation. In mid- 
February, therefore, the sailing sched- 
ules called for 253 arrivals in that month 
(177 in the north, 76 in the south), and 
306 in March (218 in the north and 88 
in the south). 135 By that time— mid-Feb- 
ruary— steady improvement in both dis- 
charge and forward movement was 
evident in the European theater. Un- 
loadings that month were to exceed 
50,000 tons per day, a jump of about 
30,000 over the record of December and 
January. With this improvement, less 
than three months before the end of 
hostilities, both the discharge and ship- 
ping problems, which had plagued lo- 
gistic support of U.S. forces since D Day, 
finally appeared resolved. 

135 Cbl WARX-37577, AGWAR to ETO, 15 Feb 
45, Adm 408; Cbl E-10453, ETO to AGWAR, 19 
Feb 45, Adm 400. 


Transportation Developments 

(i) Motor Transport: The Color Routes 

Of the various results of the pursuit 
the deficit in transportation had both an 
immediate impact on Allied capabilities 
and far-reaching effects on the workings 
of the entire logistic organization. It 
not only brought the pursuit to a halt, 
but deranged the entire logistic struc- 
ture by forcing both combat and service 
echelons to abandon carefully worked 
out supply procedures in favor of "ex- 
pedients" which upset the systematic 
and businesslike growth of the theater 
logistic organization. 

Halting the pursuit brought no dim- 
inution in requirements for transpor- 
tation. Fresh demands, such as the move- 
ment forward of newly arrived divisions, 
the redeployment of the Ninth Army 
from Brittany, and the winterization 
program, added to the standing re- 
quirements for the building of forward 
reserves, promised to absorb all the the- 
ater's transportation resources for weeks 
to come. The nature of operations in 
the fall made it necessary that cargo 
vehicles which had been withdrawn 
from tactical formations— particularly 
field artillery and antiaircraft units- 
be returned for use in their normal role. 

Rail transportation showed steady im- 
provement in September and October, 

but for a long time was unable to meet 
the full requirement for long-distance 
hauling. Motor transport consequently 
continued for another two months to 
carry large tonnages all the way from 
the beaches and ports to the army areas 
over lines of communication that 
stretched between three and four hun- 
dred miles. This it accomplished largely 
via the Red Ball Express, which had 
started operating on 25 August, and via 
additional express routes organized for 
similar missions. 

The Red Ball Express had completed 
its original mission— the delivery of 
75,000 tons of supplies to the Chartres- 
La Loupe-Dreux triangle— by 5 Septem- 
ber. But there was no thought of dis- 
continuing the operation on that date, 
and the Communications Zone gave it 
a new lease to operate indefinitely. On 
10 September the route was altered and 
extended, the outgoing route diverging 
at Versailles, one branch bypassing Paris 
to the north and continuing to Soissons 
to serve First Army, the other continu- 
ing in an easterly direction via Melun 
to Somm esous in support of the Third. 

(Map 5) A week later the completion 
of a highway bridge at Chennevieres, 
southeast of Paris, permitted a more 
direct routing and a saving of sixteen 



miles on the southern branch. Addi- 
tional extensions to Liege in the north 
and to Saarbruecken in the south were 
considered, but the final extension, made 
on 20 September, affected only the route 
serving First Army, which was extended 
from Soissons to Hirson. This brought 
the total mileage of the Red Ball route 
to 924, the round trip on the northern 
route totaling 686 miles, and on the 
southern route, 590. 1 

The Red Ball Express continued to 
operate for another two months and 
chalked up the best ton-mileage records 
of its second phase operations in the 
last week of September. In that period, 
with approximately 5400 trucks as- 
signed, it averaged 8,209 tons dispatched 
in 1,542 trucks each day, the average 
load per truck totaling 5.3 tons, and 
the average round trip mileage totaling 
714. The average trip required 71.2 
hours to complete. For the entire month 
an average of 6,891 tons passed through 
the traffic control regulating point at 
St. L6 every day. 2 

1 Later alterations had little effect on the total 
route mileage. On 20 September the portion of the 
return route between Courville and Alencpn reached 
such a state of disrepair that further maintenance 
became impracticable, and an alternate route was 
substituted. On 5 October the return route from 
Sommesous via Arcis and Nogent-sur-Seine to Fon- 
tainebleau was eliminated and the portion between 
Sommesous and Rozay-en-Brie opened to two-way 
traffic. Similarly on 11 October the return from 
Hirson to Chateau-Thierry via Reims and Epernay 
was also eliminated and the section between Hirson 
and Soissons made a two-way highway. G-4 Periodic 
Rpt for Quarter Ending 30 Sep 44, Tn Sec ADSEC 
319.1 Supplement to G-4 Periodic Rpt; Ltr, Lt Col 
M. N. Drake, Stat Br OCofT, to G-4 COMZ, 18 Sep 
44, sub: Supply Info, Incl to Ltr, Stratton to G-4 
12 A Gp, 19 Sep 44, sub: Supply Info, 12 A Gp 
400.291 Supply Information, II. 

2 Memo, Maj Jerry House, ADSEC MTB Ln Off, 
for ADSEC Tn Off, 3 Oct 44, ADSEC 523.091 Red 
Ball-XYZ Routes. 

Trucks Loaded With Supplies wait- 
ing to be unloaded at Soissons, ter- 
minal of the Red Ball Express route 
serving First Army. 

At the end of September the strain 
on motor transport eased somewhat as 
a result of the establishment of rail 
transfer points in the Paris area. Both 
the extent and the better condition of 
the rail net northeast of Paris made it 
feasible to handle substantially greater 
tonnages by rail in that area than could 
be moved west of the Seine. Plans were 
accordingly made to transfer a mini- 
mum of 4,000 tons of supplies per day 
from trucks to rail cars in the Paris area 
for movement to army railheads, and to 
decrease Red Ball hauling beyond the 


5eptimb«r 194 4- February 1945 

□ Q »I0 L'fitiHlHJTl »6SIP IE Ot? 44 
»«»«8O04 WhiII tftU "WUV 6 OCt 44 - 10 Jih 4S 
— ^ 0J»f E« CM -0*0 *0«ri K> OCT - i NOV 4 4 

■ i, ABC Bcui I 30 How 4 4 - Jfc y *w 4ft 

■ * * ■ LlT t LI flEO B*n J50IC44 -17 4S 

g£T • £ 



Seine a corresponding amount. While 
this expedient entailed additional han- 
dling of supplies, it promised to increase 
the capacity of the available trucks by 
shortening the haul and decreasing the 
turnaround time. 

Two transfer points were initially set 
up in the Paris area, one at Aubervillers 
la Courneuve (for First Army supplies), 
and one at Vincennes-Fontenay (for the 
Third Army). Both were well-developed 
yards where trucks could discharge their 
loads directly to empty freight cars. Au- 
bervillers la Courneuve could accommo- 
date 225 cars and work 20 at a time; 
Vincennes-Fontenay could hold 400 cars 
and work 115. Operations at both trans- 
fer points were organized and supervised 
by small detachments of officers and 
enlisted men working in two twelve- 
hour shifts, the actual transfer of cargo 
being carried out by a French labor 
force of between 300 and 350 men work- 
ing in three eight-hour shifts. A third 
transfer point was established at Ruilly 
early in October to handle Ninth Army 
supplies, With the exception of a single 
crane at Vincennes, none of the yards 
was equipped to handle awkward or 
heavy lifts, hence only supplies that 
could be manhandled were accepted. 
With the inauguration of this plan a 
diversion point was established on the 
Red Ball route at Trappes, about twenty 
miles southwest of Paris, where mani- 
fests were examined to determine 
whether convoys should be routed to 
the transfer points or to the regulating 
stations serving the respective armies. 

Truck-to-rail transfer was an immedi- 
ate success, making it possible to discon- 
tinue much of the long-distance motor 
transport hauling beyond the Seine. In 

fact, tentative plans were made to dis- 
continue Red Ball trucking beyond 
Paris entirely by 20 October. This goal 
was not achieved, for engineer supplies 
and equipment which were too heavy 
for transfer at Paris continued to be 
trucked the entire distance from the 
ports to the army depots beyond that 
date. Early in November the policy was 
laid down that all nontransferable items 
would be shipped straight through by 
rail and that trucks were to be used only 
for supplies that could be worked by 
hand and therefore transferred to rail at 
the Seine. In other words, there was to 
be no more long-distance hauling by 
truck beyond Paris. 3 

Less than two weeks later— on 16 No- 
vember—the Red Ball Express ceased 
operations, its demise occurring on the 
same date the Normandy beaches closed 
down. In the course of its eighty-one 
days of operations the express service 
carried a total of 412,193 tons of sup- 
plies, some of them initially to the 
Chartres depot area, some directly to 
the armies, and in the last stages to the 
rail transfer points at Paris. In deliver- 
ing an average of 5,088 tons per day 
its total ton-mileage came to nearly 122,- 
ooo,ooo. 4 

Lacking precedent and experience, 

3 History of TC ETO, IV, Jul-Sep 44, OCofT, p. 
9; V, Oct-Dec 44, 2d MRS, p. 14, and OCofT, p. 30; 
Memo, ADSEC Tn Off for ADSEC G-4, 9 Oct 44; 
sub: Weekly Transportation Narrative, ADSEC 
319.1 Weekly Narratives, Tn Sec; COMZ G-4 His- 
tory, III, 31-33; Ltr, Lt Col Harold L. Mack, ACofT 
for Movs TC, to CofT COMZ, 1 Nov 44, sub: Semi- 
monthly Activity RpUMovs Div, EUCOM (TC) 
Semimonthly Reports to CofT Washington; G-4 
COMZ Plant and Communications Diary /Jnl, Sum- 
mary of Br Chiefs Mtg, 27 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C. 

4 Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, MTS, 12. 



Red Ball Express Trucks leaving a traffic regulating control point, September 


the Red Ball Express was plagued by 
problems of control and operational pro- 
cedures through most of its history. The 
problem of control was inevitable in an 
organization operated by one COMZ 
section whose functioning involved the 
crossing of sectional boundaries. The 
Motor Transport Brigade, which oper- 
ated the Red Ball, was an ADSEC or- 
ganization. But all the COMZ sections 
traversed by the Red Ball routes had 
responsibilities affecting the efficient op- 
eration of the express service, such as 
road maintenance, traffic control, and 
signal communications, and these re- 
sponsibilities were not carried out uni- 
formly by the various section com- 
manders. Reconciling the Advance Sec- 
tion's authority to operate the route 
with that of other section commanders 
proved an important stumbling block 
and evidenced a major defect in an 
organization which had a COMZ-wide 
function to perform. Confusion and dis- 

agreement inevitably arose between the 
Advance Section, Normandy Base Sec- 
tion, Seine Section, and Loire Section 
over maintenance of portions of the 
route, and late in September both the 
Chief of Transportation and Seine Sec- 
tion complained of unauthorized diver- 
sions and of changes in consignments 
made by the Advance Section at truck- 
to-rail transfer points. 

Repeated attempts to delineate the 
responsibilities of the sections fell short 
of the goal. The essential defect of the 
system— the anomalous position of the 
Motor Transport Brigade— was finally 
recognized early in October, when the 
problem was resolved by transferring 
the control of motor transport operating 
intersectionally to a higher echelon. On 
5 October the Motor Transport Brigade, 
a provisional organization in the first 
place, was dissolved and its personnel 
consolidated with the Motor Transport 
Service. The latter, operating under the 



Chief of Transportation at the level of 
the Communications Zone, then as- 
sumed the duties of the Motor Trans- 
port Brigade. Truck units of the latter 
were attached to the base sections, but 
technical supervision and operational 
control of intersectional hauling was 
thereafter exercised by the Motor Trans- 
port Service. By coincidence the disso- 
lution of the Motor Transport Brigade 
came shortly after the establishment of 
the truck-to-rail transfer points and 
therefore at a time when long-distance 
hauling east of Paris was already on 
the wane. With Paris becoming the 
main terminus of the Red Ball convoys 
it had become even more illogical that 
the Advance Section, already operating 
far forward, should control motor trans- 
port operating all the way back to the 
Normandy base. 5 

Meanwhile, through trial and error, 
Red Ball's operating procedures were 
also gradually improved. On 1 October 
a new standing operating procedure 
(SOP) on convoy make-up and control 
was put into effect, and a few days later 
a more clearly denned documentation 
procedure was adopted to correct earlier 
difficulties over marking and identifica- 
tion. Finally, on 2 December, in antici- 
pation of possible future express systems, 
responsibilities of the COMZ sections 
were further amended to conform with 
the centralized control of intersectional 
hauling which had been instituted. 6 

5 Daily Jnl, G-4 Plans and G-4 Plant and Com- 
munications, entries by Col Hansen and Col Potter, 
18 and 29 Sep and 3 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C, G-4 
Plant and Communications Diary /Jnl; Hist Rpt of 
TC ETO, V, Oct-Dec 44, I, OCofT, 67; COMZ G_4 
History, III, Ch. 111. 

e COMZ G-4 History, Chs. V and VI, and pp. 47- 

While Red Ball was the first of the 
big express systems to be organized, and 
the most publicized, several other "color 
routes" on the model of Red Ball were 
established to meet specific needs in 
the fall of 1944. The first of these was 
the Red Lion Route, organized in sup- 
port of the joint U.S.-British airborne 
operation carried out by the 2 1 Army 
Group in Holland. Red Lion's mission 
was to haul 500 tons of supplies per day 
(largely POL) from Bayeux to Brussels 
for a period of thirty days. 

While U.S. forces furnished and op- 
erated the trucks— eight companies for 
most of the period— almost all other ad- 
ministrative services were provided by 
the British. 7 These included the loading 
and unloading of supplies, maintenance 
of the routes, the provision and staffing 
of camp sites and marshaling and con- 
trol points, and the provision of medical 
facilities and water and rations. Vehicle 
maintenance was handled by two me- 
dium automotive maintenance compa- 
nies, one stationed at each traffic regu- 
lating control point, where road patrols 
were based and repair work was per- 
formed. Each company established a 
small pool of 21/2-ton trucks from which 
it could issue replacements in cases 
where repairs could not be carried out 

1 The eight U.S. companies— six of them equipped 
with 21/2-ton 6x6's and two with 10-ton semitrailers 
—were withdrawn from the Red Ball Express and 
replaced with provisional companies formed with 
vehicles from the 26th, 95th, and 104th Divisions. 
The provisional companies, despite the lack of train- 
ing, performed well, and their convoy discipline was 
reported to be generally superior to that of the 
regular truck companies. COMZ G-4 History, 111, 
53; Opn, Orgn, Supply, and Svs of TC ETO, Gen 
Bd Rpt 122, p. 44. 



Red Lion convoys began their 300- 
mile runs to Brussels on 16 September 
and co ntinued operati ons until 12 Oc- 
tober. \(See Map 5.) | Normandy Base 
Section organized and operated the serv- 
ice. The route turned in a somewhat 
better performance than the Red Ball, 
profiting from earlier experience and 
enjoying certain advantages. Trucks 
carried a high average load of 5.9 tons, 
partly because of the density of the 
cargo. In addition, the operation bene- 
fited from the fact that all cargo was 
assembled at one dump in the Caen- 
Bayeux area, eliminating delays in pick- 
up and loading, and all trucks were 
unloaded at a single dump at the termi- 
nus of the route. 

Red Lion convoys exceeded their tar- 
get, delivering an average of 650 tons 
per day instead of 500, and handled a 
total of about 18,000 tons. Almost half 
of this consisted of supplies for the two 
U.S. airborne divisions participating in 
the Holland operation, a statistic often 
ignored by the partisans who so heatedly 
criticized this "diversion*' of U.S. re- 
sources. Furthermore, the operation 
took place after the pursuit had defi- 
nitely been halted and both the First 
and Third U.S. Armies had come up 
against the prepared defenses of the 
West Wall. 8 

Two other express services, one 
known as the White Ball Route, the 
other as the Green Diamond Route, 
were organized and placed in operation 
early in October. Both were relatively 

8 Memo, Ravenhill for Vissering, 9 Oct 44, sub: 
POL Tonnage Lift, and reply, Vissering for Log 
Plans Br SHAEF, 12 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 Tonnages 
—CI III, POL 137/5/GDP-1; Hist Rpt of TC ETO, 
V, MTS, 15-18; COMZ G-4 History, III, 52-55. 

short hauls compared with the Red Ball 
and Red Lion systems. The White Ball 
Route was organized to take advantage 
of the shorter lines of communications 
from the newly opened ports of Le 
Havre and Rouen, its mission being to 
clear those ports, hauling supplies either 
directly to the armies or to rail transfer 
points at Paris and Reims. A quarter- 
master group headquarters (Transporta- 
tion Corps) exercised operational con- 
trol of the route, and Channel Base Sec- 
tion was made responsible for movement 
control. The White Ball Route started 
operating on 6 October 1944 and con- 
tinued until 10 January 1945, with an 
average of twenty-nine truck companies 
participating. It handled a total of 
134,067 tons of supplies on an average 
forward run of 113 miles. 

The White Ball Route was modeled 
on the Red Ball Express, but performed 
rather poorly. Co-ordination and plan- 
ning were noticeably deficient: depots 
were unaware of planned movements, 
labor was not provided at unloading 
points, both loading and unloading time 
was excessive, and neither line mainte- 
nance nor traffic control regulating 
points were provided until late in Oc- 
tober. Lack of maintenance was reflected 
in the low rate of truck availability, 
only 32 of the 48 vehicles per company 
normally being fit for use as against 
the 40 expected under proper operating 
conditions. To make matters worse, 
trucks were frequently diverted for local 
use. 9 

The Green Diamond Route was or- 
ganized by Normandy Base Section to 

9 COMZ G-4 History, III, 55-56; Opn, Orgn, Sup- 
ply, and Svs of TC ETO, Gen Bd Rpt 122, p. 44; 
Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, MTS, 14-15. 



move supplies from the ports and base 
depots in the Cotentin area to rail trans- 
fer points at Granville and Dol, near the 
base of the Cherbourg Peninsula. Al- 
though plans called for the use of forty 
truck companies, an average of only 
fifteen participated. The route was in 
operation only three weeks, from 10 
October to 1 November, and delivered 
a total of only 15,600 tons of supplies. 
The Green Diamond Route was not a 
model of efficiency from the point of 
view of either planning or command 
supervision. In addition, it operated 
under a severe handicap imposed by 
mud, which made it almost impossible 
to handle the larger tractor-trailer com- 
binations in the depots. They could be 
employed only by having cargo picked 
up by the smaller 21/2-ton trucks and 
then transferred to the larger vehicles, 
an operation which proved highly un- 
economical. In a sense the Green Dia- 
mond operation hardly belongs in the 
category of the special express routes, 
for it was more, of a routine trucking 
operation and did not adopt most of 
the special operational procedures which 
characterized the larger express serv- 
ices. 10 

One of the most highly organized and 
efficient motor transport express systems 
came into being at the end of Novem- 
ber. The ABC Haul was organized spe- 
cifically to supplement rail and water 
facilities in clearing the port of Antwerp 
and moving the supplies discharged 
there directly from quayside to advance 

10 Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, Normandy Base Sec, 
13, and V, MTS, 22; COMZ G-4 History, III, 52; 
Opn, Orgn, Supply, and Svs of TC ETO, Gen Bd 
Rpt 122, pp. 44-45. 

depots in the Liege-Mons-Charleroi 
area. Antwerp lay in the British zone, 
and the prompt clearance of the port 
was imperative because of the limited 
storage space available to U.S. forces 

The ABC Haul derived its name from 
the fact that three nationalities— Amer- 
ican, British, and Canadian—shared 
many facilities in the Antwerp area. 
Planning the operation involved the 
highest degree of co-ordination with the 
British on such matters as highway 
rights-of-way, restrictions on civilian 
traffic, and circulation routes through 
cities. The basis for this co-ordination 
was laid in the Memorandum of Agree- 
ment of 18 October, by which British 
and American officials had agreed on the 
use of the port. In all other respects 
the ABC Haul was strictly American in 

In addition to a high degree of co- 
ordination and organization, two fea- 
tures characterized the operation of the 
ABC route: the exclusive use of 4/5-ton 
truck-tractors with 10-ton semitrailers, 
one of the most efficient combinations 
for long-distance hauling; and the use 
of a marshaling yard or "surge pool/' 
An average of sixteen companies of the 
big truck-tractor-semitrailer combina- 
tions was assigned to the ABC Haul, 
with a ratio of approximately two trail- 
ers for every power unit. Two of the 
truck-tractor companies did nothing but 
shuttle between the Antwerp surge pool 
and the quays, moving empties to the 
piers for direct loading from either ships 
or warehouses, and bringing loaded 
trailers back. At the surge pool fourteen 
companies assigned to over-the-road 
hauling picked up loaded trailers which 



Truck-Tractor and Semitrailer Stuck in Thick Mud are pulled out by a D-j 
tractor, Cherbourg area. 

had been formed into convoys and made 
the trip to the forward depots, a run 
which averaged ninety miles. A bivouac 
was established at Tirlemont, the half- 
way mark, where drivers were changed. 

All the facilities which earlier experi- 
ence had shown were necessary for effi- 
cient line-of-communications hauling 
were provided, including ordnance 
maintenance installations and road pa- 
trols, signal communications, aid sta- 
tions, and so on. Control of truck move- 
ments was exercised from the Antwerp 
surge pool and the halfway point, and 
centralized control of the entire opera- 
tion was achieved by having the route 
operated by a single base section com- 
mander—General Jacobs of Channel 
Base— although the route actually ex- 
tended into ADSEC territory. The con- 
flict of authority and responsibility 

which had plagued the Red Ball Express 
was therefore avoided, and long-distance 
truck transportation brought to a high 
degree of efficiency. 

In January the operation was im- 
proved further by the establishment of 
surge pools at Liege, Mons, and Charle- 
roi, where loaded convoys were received 
and then directed to forward dumps 
and depots in accordance with unload- 
ing capacities. This permitted a close 
control of movements at the receiving 
as well as the dispatching end, and made 
possible better line maintenance of 
equipment, a more efficient use of 
trucks, and a consequent saving in turn- 
around time. 

The ABC Haul started operations on 
30 November 1944 and continued until 
26 March 1945. In that four-month 
period it cleared 245,000 tons from Ant- 



werp, the average load per truck total- 
ing 8.7 tons and the average round trip 
requiring twenty hours. The ABC Haul, 
like the use of Antwerp, afforded an 
excellent example of a highly organized 
and tightly controlled operation involv- 
ing the crossing of national lines of 
communications and the joint use of 
logistic facilities. 11 

All the trucking systems described 
above were organized to handle large 
bulk shipments of supplies. In Decem- 
ber 1944 still another motor transport 
service, known as the Little Red Ball, 
was inaugurated to meet a very special 
need— the fast delivery of small quanti- 
ties of items urgently needed at the 
front. The requirement for a motor 
transport organization to fill this need 
arose from the fact that normal rail 
movements from Cherbourg to Paris re- 
quired three days, while trucks could 
make deliveries in a single day. 

The Little Red Ball route ran from 
Carentan, at the base of the Cotentin 
Peninsula, to Paris, following highway 
N-13 all the way. The service was 
designed to deliver only 100 tons per 
day— mostly medical, signal, chemical 
and quartermaster Class II items—and 
was operated by one truck company 
equipped with 10-ton semitrailers. It 
operated slightly less than five weeks, 
from 15 December 1944 to 17 January 
1945, delivering an average of 106 tons 
per day. 12 A fast rail express service took 

11 COMZ G-4 History, III, 56-59; Hist Rpt of TC 
ETO, V, MI S, 18-21; Opn, Orgn, Supply, and Svs 
of TC ETO, Gen Bd Rpt 122, p. 45. 

12 COMZ G-4 History, III, 59; Hist Rpt of TC 
ETO, V, MTS, 13. 

its place a few days after it ceased op- 
erations. 13 

Independently of these various spe- 
cially organized and for the most part 
short-lived color routes the Motor 
Transport Service had carried on an- 
other hauling operation of vital and con- 
tinuing importance— the transportation 
of gasoline in bulk. The so-called POL 
hauls had started shortly after the Nor- 
mandy landings, and were to continue 
without interruption till the end of hos- 
tilities. They were carried out by a 
special fleet of tank vehicles, consisting 
in the main of nine companies of 2,000- 
gallon semitrailers and five companies of 
750-gallon tank trucks. From the begin- 
ning the Motor Transport Service, 
through a special POL Section, had 
exercised a highly centralized control 
over these operations, units of the tanker 
fleet being attached to the COMZ sec- 
tions for administration only. 

Most of the POL hauls were rather 
routine, did not involve an elaborate 
operating procedure, and were not fav- 
ored by a special name or by publicity. 
Nevertheless the transportation of gas- 
oline in bulk accounted for a high per- 
centage of the total tonnages handled 
by truck. In the three-month period 
from October through December alone 
approximately 240,000 tons were for- 
warded from ports and pipeheads in this 
manner, the daily haul frequently ex- 
ceeding 4,000 tons. In addition, substan- 
tial quantities of packaged gasoline and 
other POL products were transported 

13 The special rail service, known as the "Toot 
Sweet Express," is described in Chapter XV, Section 
1, below. 


Loaded io-Ton Semitrailers, Antwerp Surge Pool, waiting for the haul to 
forward depots, January 1945. 

in the long-distance work. Excessive 
speed, overloading, reckless driving, 
poor discipline and control, and the sac- 
rifice of adequate maintenance in favor 
of short-term gains all contributed to 
the tendency. The result was a tre- 
mendous increase in repairs, which had 
already risen to 1,500 per day at the 
end of September. 

The root of the trouble lay in poor 
maintenance, particularly first and sec- 
ond echelon, which suffered from both 
driver fatigue and lack of discipline. 
Plans for a "service station" type of 
line maintenance were not put into ef- 
fect, partly because Red Ball was looked 
upon as a temporary expedient. Acci- 
dents, rather than mechanical failures, 
necessitated approximately one third of 
all vehicle replacement issues, reflecting 
both reckless driving and driver fatigue. 

by ordinary cargo trucks. In March 1945 
the capacity of the POL tanker fleet was 
augmented by the addition of three 
companies of 10-ton semitrailers, each 
trailer mounting four 750-gallon skid 
tanks. 14 

The unexpectedly heavy burden 
which truck transport was forced to 
shoulder in the summer and fall of 1944 
had its inevitable consequences in the 
attrition of the theater's motor transport 
resources. Vehicles underwent rapid de- 
terioration in the fall of 1944 as the 
result of the grueling pace set by such 
expedients as the Red Ball Express. 
Truck units in the combat zone shared 
this to some extent, for they had joined 

14 Opn, Orgn, Supply, and 'Svs of TC ETO, Gen 
Bd Rpt 122, p. 44; Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, MTS, 
22-25, App* 7 to Ch. V, and Table 25. 


Truck Tractors, 5-T0N, Hauling io-Ton Semitrailers to Liege over the ABC 
Route, March 1945. 

In the fall General Mud stepped in to 
create additional hazards and hindrances 
in the forward areas and in many de- 
pots, causing overheated engines and 
shortening the life of brake systems. The 
available maintenance equipment was 
unequal to the suddenly magnified re- 
pair task. Four- and ten-ton wreckers in 
the heavy and medium automotive 
maintenance companies, for example, 
had to be augmented by 4-ton Diamond- 
T's normally used for towing. 

Finally, lack of spare parts often kept 
vehicles deadlined. This was particu- 
larly true of tires. Overloading and lack 
of preventive maintenance took a heavy 
toll, and heavy damage was also caused 
by the sharp edges of the cut-off tops of 
C ration cans which were strewn along 
the roads. Theater reserves were quickly 
exhausted and repair facilities could not 

match the new demand. This deficiency 
was further aggravated by the lack of 
such supplies as camelback, an item es- 
sential in recapping. 

Intensive efforts to improve mainte- 
nance were made in late 1944, partic- 
ularly in the services needed along the 
lines of communications. These efforts 
eventually bore fruit in better vehicle 
availability, which rose from thirty per 
company at the end of November to 
thirty-five within the next month. Nev- 
ertheless, the replacement factor for 
cargo trucks, as in many other items of 
equipment, proved entirely too low for 
the conditions under which motor trans- 
port was used in the European theater. 
At the end of the year theater officials 
recommended that the original 2 per- 
cent factor be raised to 8 in the case of 
2 i/£-ton trucks, and 6 for the 1 o-ton 



semitrailer combinations. 15 

The Transportation Corps had con- 
tinued its efforts throughout the sum- 
mer and fall to acquire more of the 
heavier cargo units which had long since 
proved themselves much more efficient 
than the 21^-ton truck in the over-the- 
road hauling. The shortage of such units 
in the United States had forced the the- 
ater to accept substitutes, including 
many 2i/£-ton trucks, before D Day. By 
the end of December the Transporta- 
tion Corps had succeeded in re-equip- 
ping thirty companies with the much- 
desired truck-tractor-semitrailer combi- 
nations, giving the theater a total of fifty 
companies equipped with the big 10- 

Much of the new equipment was dis- 
charged at Marseille, where ordnance 
teams assembled the units and where 
companies sent down from the Commu- 
nications Zone picked them up. Most of 
the drivers had had no experience in 
handling heavy equipment, and took a 
short training course while awaiting the 
assembly of their vehicles. When the 
trucks were ready they were driven to 
the quays at Marseille and loaded with 
supplies so that their initial lift capacity 
should not be wasted on the northward 
run. The newly equipped companies 
delivered these supplies to the army 
areas, and then proceeded to their as- 
signed stations. Much of the equipment 
arriving in this manner was immediately 
committed to the ABC Haul out of 
Antwerp. 16 

15 COMZ G-4 History III, 33, 38-39, 40-43; Hist 
Rpt of TC ETO, V, MTS, 6; History of the Nor- 
mandy Base Section, D Day to V-E Day, 36, 38, ETO 
Adm 595; COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications 
Diary/Jnl, 26 Sep and 16 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C. 

16 Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, MTS, 3-4. 

The re-equipping program had al- 
ready added materially to the capacity 
of the Motor Transport Service by the 
end of 1944. At the close of the year 
there were approximately 200 truck 
companies of all types from 2l/£-ton up, 
including tankers, refrigerator trucks, 
and even 2 companies of 45-ton trailers, 
in the Communications Zone, 84 of 
which came under the direct operational 
control of the Motor Transport Serv- 
ice. Under the Tables of Equipment 
this would have permitted an authorized 
strength of more than 10,000 vehicles, 
with about 8,300 in operation under 
optimum conditions. In actual practice, 
only about 75 percent of the authorized 
number was available, and a still smaller 
number in operable condition at any 
one time. 

But the theater's motor transport re- 
sources were augmented steadily. By the 
close of the year seventy-five additional 
companies had been authorized for 1945, 
and the re-equipping program was also 
to continue. Early in the new year four- 
teen veteran companies arrived from 
Iran and were equipped with 10-ton 
diesel cargo trucks. Meanwhile other 
companies were shipped to the United 
Kingdom, where sufficient 10-ton semi- 
trailer units were initially provided to 
equip and train five companies. On the 
Continent the Transportation Corps 
established a transfer pool at Chartres, 
where 21^-ton 6x6 companies could ex- 
change their old equipment for the 
larger units. 17 

Approximately 30,000 men were em- 
ployed in Motor Transport Service op- 
erations at the end of 1944, about three 

17 Ibid., 4, and App. 3 to Ch. V. 


Four 750-GALLON Skid Tanks mounted on io-ton semitrailers used for transport- 
ing gasoline in bulk. 

Beginning in November, despite the 
serious maintenance and replacement 
problem, the Transportation Corps was 
in a much better position to meet sud- 
den demands for motor transport occa- 
sioned by tactical developments, largely 
because of better planning for such 
eventualities. With the experience of the 
pursuit in mind, General Ross's staff 
made detailed plans to support a break- 
through should the November offensive 
produce one. Truck company bivouacs 
were reconnoitered and selected in the 
Namur and Verdun areas, and eighty 
companies with a lift capacity equiva- 
lent to 110 of the sU/^-ton type were ear- 
marked for rapid marshaling in support 
of any one or all of the armies in the 

fourths of them consisting of Negro 
enlisted personnel. The Transportation 
Corps had persisted in its efforts to get 
additional drivers so that truck compa- 
nies could operate round the clock, but 
was only partially successful. Some over- 
strengthening had been carried out be- 
fore the invasion. But the shortage of 
drivers remained acute throughout the 
summer, and in the fall the Transporta- 
tion Corps was still recommending a 
substantial augmentation in strength of 
all truck units. 18 

18 In November the Transportation Corps asked 
the War Department to increase the strength of all 
truck companies to 140 enlisted men. Hist Rpt of 
TC ETO, V, MTS, 7, 28. 



12 th Army Group. The plan also pro- 
vided for centralized operation of truck 
units through a specially organized for- 
ward echelon of the Motor Transport 
Service headquarters, operating under 
the control of either the main headquar- 
ters or the Advance Section. 

While the tactical successes of Novem- 
ber did not warrant the implementation 
of these plans, the preparations never- 
theless stood the theater in good stead 
at the time of the German counteroffen- 
sive a month later, and were quickly 
adapted to that situation. Port clearance 
operations at Rouen and Antwerp were 
immediately curtailed and motor trans- 
port was released to meet more urgent 
demands. On 18 December, two days 
after the start of the attacks, the equiva- 
lent of 274 2i/£-ton trucks were taken 
off the White Ball Route and another 
258 from Seine Section to rush combat 
formations— principally airborne units- 
forward from the Reims area. On the 
following day the White Ball Route re- 
leased another 347 trucks for use in the 
redeployment of Third Army units. On 
20 December additional diversions, in- 
cluding 10-ton semitrailers from the 
ABC Haul, were made to the Reims 
area. By the end of the month more 
than 2,500 trucks had been temporarily 
withdrawn from port clearance and 
static operations to handle emergency 
troop and supply movements. In some 
cases they evacuated forward dumps in 
danger of capture, as for example at 
Liege, from which tank trucks removed 
400,000 gallons of aviation gasoline. 
Throughout these operations the Motor 
Transport Service ensured an efficient 
use of truck units by exercising cen- 

tralized control over all movements in 
co-ordination with the COMZ G-4. 19 

(2) The Raihoays 

While motor transport operated with 
greater and greater efficiency and gave a 
much-desired flexibility to the theater's 
transportation system, it constituted no 
substitute for the railways in the sus- 
tained movement of large tonnages over 
great distances. In the long run the rail- 
road was the main workhorse of the 
transportation system, handling the great 
bulk of the tonnages. 

In mid-September the railways had 
not yet assumed a large portion of the 
transport burden, although the Allied 
advance had uncovered almost the entire 
rail system of France, Belgium, and Lux- 
embourg. Forward of St. L6 the lines 
then in operation had been rehabilitated 
in great haste, and only a few lines ten- 
tatively reached forward from the Seine, 
handling but a few thousand tons per 
day. 20 Very little additional mileage was 
captured in the next few months, and 
railway development was therefore con- 
fined almost strictly to the rehabilitation 
of the extensive network already in Al- 
lied hands. 

At the end of September the 2d Mili- 
tary Railway Service, which operated 
the railways in the north, had under its 
jurisdiction approximately 2,000 miles 
of single track and 2,775 miles of double 
track lines. East of Paris three main lines 
of communications had been opened: 
one in the north to Liege via Corn- 
piegne, Cambrai, Valenciennes, Mons, 

19 Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, MTS, 8-9, and V, 
OCofT, 31; COMZ G-4 History,, III, 47, 59. 

20 G— 4 report for quarter ending 3 Sep 44, Tn Sec 
ADSEC, 26 Oct 44, ADSEC 319.1 Supplement to G-4 
Periodic Rpt. 



Charleroi, and Namur; one via Soissons, 
Laon, and Hirson to Charleroi, where 
it tied in with the northern line; and 
a third extending directly east of Paris 
via Sezanne and Sommesous to the 
Nancy-Metz- Verdun triangle. By the 
end of December additional lines had 
been opened to raise the mileage to 
3,500 of single track and 5,000 of double 
track, which was equal to about one 
third of all rail mileage in France. 21 [See 
Ma p 9 below.)\ 

The condition of the lines varied 
greatly. By the end of December the 
lines in the original lodgment area and 
in northern Brittany were in fairly good 
repair. Northwest of Paris, however, 
where both Allied bombings and enemy 
demolitions had been heavy, much re- 
mained to be done. In the Paris area 
itself most of the bridges on either side 
of the city had been destroyed, forcing 
all traffic for some time to use the so- 
called "inner circle'* route and the pas- 
senger stations in the very heart of the 
city. East of the Seine the railways had 
been left relatively intact, but damage 
was again heavy in the area where the 
enemy offered more determined resist- 
ance. In the north one of the two double- 
track lines which converged at Charleroi 
had several single-track sections, and be- 
yond Charleroi only one double-track 
line was available to serve the railheads 
of the Advance Section, First Army, and 
Third Army at Huy, Liege, and Vise. 
At Liege itself only one bridge was left 
standing, creating a bottleneck which 
was not relieved until late in January. 
In the Metz area alone the enemy de- 

21 Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, MRS, 8-10; Teletype 
Conf, Gross et al. in Washington with Ross in ETO, 
10 Oct 44, ETO Tn, 337 ETO, Teletype Confs. 

stroyed sixteen highway and five railway 
bridges and systematically demolished 
short stretches of track, making extensive 
use of the mechanical "track router." 22 
Bridge repair and reconstruction con- 
stituted by far the major task in railway 
rehabilitation, even though the footage 
destroyed averaged only 25 percent in- 
stead of the 50 percent expected. Never- 
theless, by mid-November 180 damaged 
bridges had been repaired, and 125 had 
been rebuilt. Practically all this work 
was carried out by the Advance Section, 
whose engineer units were organized 
into groups, each with an allotted terri- 
tory. Base and intermediate sections nor- 
mally only carried out track work and 
completed marshaling yard rehabilita- 

U.S. engineers were initially depend- 
ent on British-designed bridging, pro- 
duced in both the United States and the 
United Kingdom, for the U.S. Army had 
developed no military railway bridging. 
Shortly after the landings, however, 
American engineer units began to use 
captured rolled steel beams which the 
Germans had manufactured at the Hadir 
Steel Works in Differdange, Luxem- 
bourg, which greatly speeded bridge re- 
construction. As soon as the Differdange 
plant was captured it began producing 
for the Allies and eventually provided 
beams for about 90 percent of all the 
bridges reconstructed on the Continent, 
including those for the Rhine, Elbe, and 
Danube crossings. 23 

Rehabilitation was only one of several 

"Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, MRS, 9-10; Opn, 
Orgn, Supply, and Svs of TC ETO, Gen Bd Rpt 
122, p. 56. 

23 Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 



problems which had to be met in bring- 
ing the railways to maximum usefulness. 
The Military Railway Service was short 
of experienced operating and supervisory 
personnel to begin with because of the 
inability of the zone of interior to re- 
lease men with such training. Less than 
15 percent of the strength of the operat- 
ing battalions consequently consisted of 
men of "operating caliber" judged by 
normal standards. This deficiency was 
later aggravated by the course of tactical 
developments on the Continent. The Al- 
lies had never contemplated attempting 
to operate the railways of liberated coun- 
tries exclusively with military personnel 
for an indefinite period. They had 
planned to return facilities to the respec- 
tive countries in easy stages as areas were 
made secure from enemy attack, as near- 
normal operating conditions were re- 
stored, and as civilian organizations were 
reconstituted. Under these plans opera- 
tions in the earliest stages during which 
the lines were being rehabilitated, 
known as Phase I, were to be handled 
by military units, with assistance from 
civilians wherever possible. Phase II op- 
erations were to begin once normal oper- 
ating conditions were restored in a par- 
ticular area or over a given line. Military 
officials were to supervise operations and 
retain complete control in that period, 
but trains were to be operated by civil- 
ian crews. Complete operational respon- 
sibility was to be restored to civilian 
agencies within a particular area in 
Phase III, although military personnel 
were to maintain close liaison with civil- 
ian agencies, and U.S. military require- 
ments were to have movement priority. 24 

24 Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, MRS, 10-11; Military 
Railway Service, Gen Bd Rpt 123, pp. 11-12. 

The rapid advance beyond the Seine 
had much the same effect on rail plans 
as on other features of the logistic plan. 
Units of the Military Railway Service 
were suddenly extended to a much 
greater degree than expected. In addi- 
tion, difficulties in language and in docu- 
mentation of shipments under French 
operation, plus the fact that the Cher- 
bourg area for a long time remained the 
main base of supply, made it infeasible 
to return the railways to French control 
as rapidly as planned. The northern 
lines into Paris, in addition to the lines 
to the north, east, and southeast, conse- 
quently remained under Phase I opera- 
tion, spreading the available operating 
personnel much more thinly than 
planned. 25 

Far more serious a limiting factor was 
the shortage of equipment, notably in 
locomotives and rolling stock. Captured 
equipment could not be counted on to 
meet all Allied requirements in view of 
the systematic destruction to which the 
French railways had been subjected by 
the Allied air forces and in view of ex- 
pected German demolitions. The Allies 
had therefore planned to ferry sub- 
stantial quantities of motive power and 
rolling stock to the Continent. Allied 
requirements for locomotives were orig- 
inally estimated at 2,724 of the 2-8-0 
type, 1800 of which were intended for 
American use, and 680 of the 0-6-0 type, 
470 of them for U.S. use, plus a smaller 
number of diesels of various types. By 

25 Opn, Orgn, Supply and Svs of TC ETO, Gen 
Bd Rpt 122, pp. 53, 56. At the end of 1944 the 2d 
Military Railway Service consisted of 18 operating 
battalions, 4 shop battalions, 5 mobile workshop 
units, and 10 hospital train maintenance crews, or- 
ganized into 5 grand divisions, and had a strength 
of 17,526 men. Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, MRS, 35. 



the end of June, 1,358 of the first type and 
362 of the second had been made avail- 
able in the United Kingdom, leaving a 
requirement of about 2,000 to be met 
from U.S. production. Four hundred 
and fifty of the locomotives shipped to 
the United Kingdom had been tempo- 
rarily loaned to the British for use in 
the United Kingdom with the under- 
standing that they would be released and 
shipped to the Continent as they were 
needed there. 

Shortly after the landings in Nor- 
mandy General Ross, alarmed over re- 
ported cutbacks in the production of 
locomotives in the United States, and 
over the failure of the British either to 
release engines on loan as scheduled or 
to deliver locomotives promised from 
U.K. production, informed the War De- 
partment that the theater would need 
all locomotives originally requested. The 
War Department, reluctant to under- 
take additional commitments because of 
interference with new tank production 
in the locomotive shops, asked the the- 
ater to exert all possible pressure on 
British officials not only to release the 
450 engines loaned them, but also to 
make an all-out effort to meet earlier 
production commitments. The Army 
Service Forces meanwhile made similar 
representations to the British Ministry 
of Supply Mission in Washington. 26 

Late in August, Allied tactical sue- 

3c Ltr, Lt Col Frank R. Crom, SHAEF, to Gen 
Maxwell, WD G-4, 31 Jul 44, sub: Locomotives for 
U.S. Troops in ETO, ist Ind, CG ASF to G-4, 29 
Aug 44, and Cbl WAR-83364, ASF to CG ETO, 19 
Aug 44, all in WDGDS 453.3, WDGDS A47-2, Rail- 
road Locomotives and Rolling Stock; Ltr, Lee to 
Somervell, 24 Aug 44, sub: Locomotive Require- 
ments for ETOUSA, EUCOM 453 Railway Equip- 
ment 1944. 

cesses, engendering hopes for an early 
victory, tended to relieve the anxieties 
of theater Transportation Corps officials 
over the adequacy of locomotives. 27 But 
this optimism was short-lived. The rapid 
advance across France only aggravated 
the shortage of motive power. Of the 
locomotives found on the French rail- 
ways west of the Seine only about fifty 
could be placed in immediate use, and 
it was estimated that 80 to 85 percent of 
those recovered would be found inop- 
erable. 28 

Lack of power was partially attributa- 
ble to the uneconomic use of the avail- 
able locomotives which resulted from 
poor management at the boundaries be- 
tween operating battalions in Nor- 
mandy, although this was eventually 
corrected. For a time it was necessary 
to double-head some trains. This not 
only doubled the requirement for mo- 
tive power but for engine crews as well, 
creating a shortage of both personnel 
and power. The solution to this problem 
was found in employing French engine 
crews to man the second engine; 124 
crews were recruited by the end of Oc- 
tober. 29 

The urgency of increasing motive 
power on the Continent meanwhile 
found expression in plans to move 500 
locomotives across the Channel in Sep- 
tember, and at the rate of 20 per day 
thereafter. Arrangements were made sev- 
eral weeks later for the gradual release 
and shipment of the 450 U.S. locomo- 

27 Ltr, Michael Keith to WD G-4, 31 Aug 44, sub: 
Locomotives for U.S. Forces in ETO, WDGDS 453.3 
WDGDS A47-2. 

28 Mil Shipments Priority Mtg, SHAEF, 2 Sep 44, 
SHAEF AG 337-18. 

29 G— 4 COMZ Plant and Communications Diary/ 
Jnl, Br Chiefs Mtg, 28 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C. 



American Locomotive Lowered by Crane from a seatrain to the rails at 

tives then in use on the British rail- 
ways. 30 These schedules proved unattain- 
able, partly because of movement diffi- 
culties, and had to be revised. 31 Even 
more important, however, was the fact 
that the release of the 450 "Boleros" was 
closely linked with the problem of Brit- 
ain's coaster fleet, the loan of the loco- 
motives compensating in part for the 
extraordinarily extended retention of 
coaster tonnage in cross-Channel serv- 
ice. 32 

30 Mil Shipments Priority Mtgs, 2 Sep 44, SHAEF 
AG 337-18; Ltr, Keith to WD G-4, 18 Oct 44, sub: 
Locomotives for U.S. Forces in ETO, WDGDS 453.3 
WDGDS A47-2. 

31 Mil Shipment Priority Mtgs, 9 Sep and 18 Nov 

32 See above, Ch. IV, Sec. 4. 

Late in November SHAEF pressed for 
the immediate shipment of 50 engines 
in the second half of December, followed 
by 100 per month to the end of March, 
holding out the hope that at least a por- 
tion of the coaster fleet might be released 
with the opening of Antwerp. The Brit- 
ish agreed to release 150 locomotives by 
the end of December, and to prepare 
another 100 for dispatch in January. But 
they strongly indicated that the release 
of these and subsequent quotas might 
be conditioned on the return o£ a por- 
tion of the coaster fleet. 33 

At the very end of December the re- 
turn of 100,000 tons of coaster shipping 

33 Cbl S-68318, CAO to Br COS, 25 Nov 44, and 
Cbl 7016, Br COS to SHAEF, 30 Nov 44, SHAEF 
G-4 Rail Transportation 117/3 GDP-i. 



led the British Chiefs of Staff to offer 
to dispatch 1 oo locomotives to the Con- 
tinent during January, February, and 
March. Together with previous ship- 
ments, this promised to complete the 
release of the 450 engines which had 
been loaned for service on the British 
railways. 34 At the end of the year a total 
of 1,500 locomotives had been moved to 
the Continent, and an additional 800 
captured engines— French, German, and 
Italian— had been repaired by French 
and American mechanics and placed in 
service. 35 

The same considerations which had 
led to the planned shipment of locomo- 
tives to the Continent had also led to 
planning substantial importations of 
rolling stock. More than 57,000 cars of 
various types, including box, tank, re- 
frigerator, and flat cars, and cabooses 
were scheduled for shipment to the Con- 
tinent, approximately 20,000 of which 
were shipped knocked down from the 
United States and assembled in British 
shops before D Day. 36 

Movement difficulties— notably the 
lack of reception facilities on the far 
shore— prevented shipment of much of 
this rolling stock to France in the first 
few months. Although a substantial 
amount was captured, shortages began 
to develop as soon as the breakout from 
Normandy imposed the long-distance 
hauling mission on the railways, Neither 
the condition of the French railways nor 
military requirements lent themselves to 
an efficient and economical use of even 

34 Cbl 7635, Br COS to SHAEF, 30 Dec 44, SHAEF 
AG 617 Railway Case A, I. 

35 Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, MRS, 30-31, and App. 


36 Ibid., V, MRS, 26-27, and App. 7. 

the limited rolling stock available. As 
early as mid-August the Communications 
Zone took measures to eliminate an evil 
which plagued the operation of the rail- 
ways to the end of the war— namely, the 
tendency to hold loaded freight cars in 
the forward areas, thus removing them 
from circulation or at best lengthening 
the turnaround time. The Communica- 
tions Zone impressed upon all the sec- 
tion commanders the necessity of prompt 
unloading of cars in view of the shortage 
of rolling stock and the limited sidings 
available. At the same time it authorized 
the chief of transportation to impose em- 
bargoes and divert shipments elsewhere 
if congestion developed at unloading 
points. 37 

By November an average of approxi- 
mately 23,000 tons of supplies was being 
forwarded by rail east of the Seine each 
day, attesting to a tremendous increase 
in rail hauling capacity since mid-Sep- 
tember. 38 But the very substantial in- 
crease in the number of freight cars avail- 
able to the Allies by the end of Novem- 
ber brought no final solution to the 
rolling stock shortage. 39 In mid-Novem- 
ber, a serious jamming up of trains began 
to develop in the forward area, and 

37 Ltr, Hq COMZ to Sees, 14 Aug 44, sub: Un- 
loading of Rolling Stock, EUCOM 453 Railway 

38 Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, MRS, App. 4. 

39 On the basis of French claims, total rolling stock 
available to the Allies, French and Belgian com- 
bined plus 20,000 cars ferried over from the United 
Kingdom, should have totaled about 234,000. U.S. 
officials suspected that the French inventory in- 
cluded much rolling stock that wouldn't roll. It was 
advantageous to the French for purposes of com- 
pensation to include everything on wheels. Memo, 
Mil Railways Br G-4 SHAEF for Chief Mov and 
Tn G-4 SHAEF, 30 Nov 44, sub: Rail Mov of 
Freight and Pers to Support A Gp, SHAEF G-4, 
Rail Tn 117/3 GDP-i. 



quickly extended back from the rail- 
heads. By 20 November eastbound trains 
occupied every block from the Belgian 
border to Namur. Within another few 
days the entire Belgian rail system be- 
came so choked with traffic that it was 
necessary to clear selected trains from the 
main track at stations near the French 
border and release their crews and en- 
gines. Similar developments in the Ver- 
dun area, the center of a big advance 
depot complex, necessitated the side- 
tracking of cars to rear areas, resulting 
in congestion, delays in the spotting and 
unloading of cars, and the tie-up of pre- 
cious rolling stock. Meanwhile rail op- 
erations at Liege, already a bottleneck 
because of destroyed bridges, were par- 
tially disrupted by heavy V-bomb attacks 
carried out in the last ten days of the 
month. 40 

Part of the freight car tie-up difficulty 
stemmed from the tendency of the arm- 
ies to keep as high a percentage of their 
reserves as possible on wheels, with the 
result that loaded cars accumulated on 
available sidings and rolling stock was 
immobilized. The Communications Zone 
had repeatedly called for "drastic ac- 
tion" to eliminate this costly practice. 
A more immediate cause was the de- 
cision to ship large tonnages of supplies 
in bulk directly from the ports to ad- 
vance depots, contrary to established 
doctrine. Neither ADSEC nor army in- 
stallations were prepared to accept the 
avalanche of supplies which began to 
descend on them toward the end of No- 

40 Hist Rpt of TG ETO, V, MRS, 14-15; Opn, 
Orgn, Supply, and Svs of TC ETO, Gen Bd Rpt 
122, p. 56; Sgt. Joseph R. Ives, "Buzz Bombs and 
the Raids," Army Transportation Journal, I (Sep- 
tember, 1945), 6-8. 

vember. Unloading and storage facilities 
in the forward areas, including depot 
personnel, sidings, and switching facili- 
ties, were always at a premium. More- 
over, they were intended for the primary 
function of issuing supplies to using 
units (which entailed the storage of a 
relatively small portion of the theater's 
reserves and presumed a fairly steady 
flow of maintenance needs), not that of 
the classification and segregation of sup- 
plies shipped in bulk, a mission normally 
assigned to intermediate or base depots. 

The opening of Antwerp at the end 
of November did not help matters, de- 
spite the prospect of quicker turnaround 
on the shorter lines of communications, 
for the lack of storage space in the port 
necessitated the prompt forwarding of 
supplies. On the last day of the month 
there were already 11,000 loaded freight 
cars on the rails east of Paris. Within 
ten days the number had risen to 14,000, 
which was estimated to be more than 
double the normal operational needs. 
Turnaround time for some cars was be- 
tween twenty and forty days. 41 

The Communications Zone, recogniz- 
ing the seriousness of the tie-up, on 12 
December outlined a specific program to 
relieve the congestion. Included in the 
instructions to the chief of transporta- 
tion and section commanders were or- 
ders to unload commodity-loaded cars 

41 SHAEF estimated that the total loads east of 
the Seine should never be greater than three times 
the daily unloading capacity. Under existing condi- 
tions, with an estimated unloading capacity of 2,000 
cars per day, the total cars under load should not 
have exceeded 6,000. Memo Concerning Transporta- 
tion, unsigned, 13 Dec 44, Hq ASF Official Rpt 
Mission to ETO 4 Dec 44-13 Jan 45, by Gen Lutes, 
Tab M; Min, CAO Mtg, 1 Dec 44, App. C, SHAEF 
AG 337.14. 



held as a rolling reserve, to reduce out- 
loadings at Cherbourg, to build addi- 
tional sidings in the ADSEC area, to 
stop and hold at Paris all ration trains 
consigned to Verdun, and to make sub- 
stantial cuts in the over-all shipment of 
rations, which had averaged nearly 6,ooo 
tons per day in the first days of Decem- 
ber. To prevent this program from inter- 
fering with ship unloadings, Channel 
Base Section was instructed, as a tem- 
porary expedient, to continue the un- 
loading of supplies from ships then work- 
ing at Antwerp and to place them in 
temporary quayside storage or any suit- 
able nearby area. Since this would in 
turn produce a backlog of supply stocks 
west of Paris and south of Antwerp, the 
chief of transportation was instructed 
to initiate a call-up system once normal 
shipments were resumed so that depot 
commanders would have some control 
over the daily load imposed on them. 42 
But the relief promised by this pro- 
gram was postponed. Within a few days 
the enemy counteroffensive in the Ar- 
dennes intervened and further aggra- 
vated congestion on the rails. Approxi- 
mately 35,000 rail cars were allowed to 
accumulate in the forward areas and 
were held there against the possibility of 
large-scale troop and supply evacuations, 
with the inevitable effect of restricting 
port discharge and rail movements in 
the rear. The Communications Zone 
met the problem of the backlog and 
pressure on Antwerp partially by ac- 

42 Ltr, Lord to CofT and Sec Comdrs, 12 Dec 44, 
sub: Reduction of Number of Loaded Cars Be- 
tween Paris and FoTwaid Areas, EUCOM 453 Rail- 
way Equipment, 1944; COMZ G-4 History, II, 97— 
102; Cbl EX-75445, Lee to Base Sees, 17 Dec 44, 
ETO Adm 397. 

quiring additional storage space from 
the British, partially by establishing in- 
land holding and reconsignment points, 
particularly at Lille and Cambrai, which 
served as a cushion between the port and 
the depots, permitting clearance of the 
port to continue. 43 But General Ross 
later estimated that the counteroffensive 
had had the effect of setting back car 
unloadings and the movement of freight 
by nearly 14,000 cars or thirty-five ship- 
loads of supplies. 44 

Rail transportation loosened up once 
more with the turning back of the Ger- 
man drive, and by the end of January 
the worst effect of the setback had been 
overcome. 45 But the control of move- 
ments and the unloading and release of 
rolling stock remained a thorny problem 
until the end of hostilities. 

Damage to rail lines in the area of the 
December counteroffensive took the 
form mainly of destroyed bridges, caused 
by both Allied and enemy demolitions 
and Allied air attacks. At St. Vith the 
yards were completely destroyed. Out- 
side the main battle area one major rail 
bridge over the Meuse had been de- 
stroyed at Namur. During an enemy air 
raid on 24 December a lucky hit had 
set off charges which Allied forces had 
placed in preparation for possible demo- 
lition. The bridge was immediately re- 

43 Ltr, Lt Col R. W. Reisner of SHAEF G-4 Mov 
and Tn Br, to G-4, 20 Dec 44, sub: Rpt of Trip to 
Antwerp, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . ., 1944, V: 
TWXs S-73064, SHAEF to COMZ and 21 A Gp, 30 
Dec 44, and EX-80904, COMZ to SHAEF, 31 Dec 44, 
SHAEF SGS 400.3/1 Supply Problems of Allied Ad- 
vance; Channel Base Section History, I, 239; Hist 
Rpt of TC ETO, VI, Jan-Mar 45, Base Sees, 15. 

44 COMZ Stf and Comd Conf, 5 Jan 45, EUCOM 
337/3 Conferences, Staff Weekly, I. 

43 Opn, Orgn, Supply, and Svs of TC ETO, Gen 
Bd Rpt 122, p. 56. 



built, and was opened to traffic on 5 
January. 46 

Problems of rail development and op- 
eration in the north were substantially 
duplicated in the south. A good rail 
net existed in southern France, double- 
track lines running north from Marseille 
along both banks of the Rhone, supple- 
mented by another double-track route 
branching off at Valence and extending 
northward via Grenoble and Besan^on. 
From these main lines an extensive net- 
work reached into Alsace via the Belfort 
gap and into Lorraine, 

Rail operations in the south began 
on a very limited scale as early as 17 
August (D plus 2), when small quantities 
of supplies were moved inland from the 
St. Tropez beaches on a narrow-gauge 
line. The first standard-gauge line was 
placed in operation shortly thereafter 
between St. Raphael and Aix-en-Prov- 
ence. From the latter the single-track 
line north to Grenoble was then opened 
despite destroyed bridges across the Dur- 
ance River at Meyrargues and the 
Buesch River at Sisteron. For a short 
time supplies were hauled by rail to 
Meyrargues and then trucked to Sisteron, 
where they were transferred back to rail. 
By mid-September temporary bridges 
strong enough to carry loaded rail cars, 
but not engines, had been completed 
at both points, and the line was open 
as far north as Bourg, 220 miles from 
the landing beaches. For a few weeks this 
route served as the principal rail line 
of communications, with a capacity of 
1,500 tons per day. 

46 Railroad Construction and Bridging, Hist Rpt 
12, CE ETO, pp. 73-74. 

In the meantime, the two main lines 
straddling the Rhone had been recon- 
noitered as far north as Lyon, where the 
headquarters of the 1st Military Railway 
Service, commanded by Brig. Gen. Carl 
R. Gray, was established on 14 Septem- 
ber. Restoration of the line on the west 
bank of the river was initially ruled out, 
for all bridges but one had been de- 
molished. The east bank line was in 
better condition, and steps were imme- 
diately taken to repair it and use it as 
the main supply route of the southern 
armies. Plans were initially made to lo- 
cate the main advance depots in the 
Dijon area, and to extend the railways 
eastward from that city to Besancon and 

By 25 September the line was open as 
far north as Lyon with a capacity of 
3,000 tons per day. By the end of the 
month the line was in operation north 
to Dijon and eastward to Besancon. Re- 
habilitation of the parallel eastern route 
north from Bourg continued, mean- 
while, and was completed on 5 October, 
when the eastern line joined the other 
at Dol, halfway between Dijon and Be- 
sancon. At that time SOS Advance Head- 
quarters at Dijon was accepting bids for 
the movement of 8,350 tons per day via 
rail. Within another week, with the ac- 
quisition of additional rolling stock and 
motive power, the capacity of the rail- 
ways along the southern lines of commu- 
nication had risen to 12,000 tons. 47 

By early October operational plans 
and the deployment of the Seventh U.S. 
and First French Armies dictated the 

47 6th A Gp G-4 AAR, Sep_Oct 44, p. 3; Hist Rpt 
of TC ETO, VI, MRS, 13-15; Opn, Orgn, Supply, 
and Svs of TC ETO, Gen Bd Rpt 122, pp. 59-60. 


Maj. Gen. Frank S. Ross, Brig. Gen. Carl R. Gray, and Brig. Gen. Clarence L. 
Burpee walking alongside an American locomotive. 

development of rail lines northward as 
well as eastward. Epinal was selected as 
the main depot area for the support of 
the Seventh Army, and the rail line 
north from Dijon to that area was re- 
stored by the middle of the month. This 
gave the 6th Army Group two rail lines 
of communications beyond Dijon, one 
eastward via Besancon toward the Bel- 
fort gap, and one northeastward via 
Langres to Epinal in the direction of 
the Saverne gap. Railheads for the two 
armies remained in the vicinity of Be- 
sancon and Epinal for most of the fol- 
lowing month. In mid-November the 
completion of a bridge over the Moselle 
made it possible to extend the northern 

line an additional thirty miles to Lune- 
ville. Meanwhile the line supporting the 
First French Army was extended to 
Clerval, approximately half the distance 
from Besancon to Belfort. 

In December the rapid advance of the 
Seventh Army through the Saverne gap 
and the subsequent reversion to the de- 
fensive in the Colmar area had their 
effect on rail reconstruction priorities. 
The Seventh Army's capture of Stras- 
bourg placed railheads out of comfort- 
able reach of motor transport, creating 
a demand for rail support east of Lune- 
ville. The removal of track between 
Luneville and Sarrebourg and damage 
to a tunnel east of Sarrebourg presented 



a formidable reconstruction task. But 
by extra exertions the line was restored 
through Sarrebourg and Saverne all the 
way to Strasbourg and Haguenau and 
opened to traffic on 21 December. At the 
same time engineers of the 1st Military 
Railway Service extended the network 
supporting the First French Army by 
restoring the line north of Besancon via 
Vesoul and Lure to Champagney. Prog- 
ress in that area was painfully slow 
because of heavy demolitions on bridges 
and tunnels and on the rails themselves. 
At the end of December the passing to 
the defensive in the Colmar region re- 
vived the importance of the Epinal-St. 
Die-Strasbourg line, which was given 
first priority so that units fighting on the 
northern side of the pocket could be 

As in northern France, rail rehabilita- 
tion was largely a matter of reconstruct- 
ing bridges, of which forty-two were 
rebuilt by the end of the year, although 
the southern forces also had to contend 
with blown tunnels. 48 

At the end of December the 1st Mili- 
tary Railway Service had approximately 
4,000 miles of track under its jurisdic- 
tion, and this mileage did not change 
appreciably in the next few months. The 
southern lines at that time had a rated 
capacity of 14,000 tons per day. But this 
was rarely if ever realized in perform- 
ance. Like the 12th Army Group in the 
north, the 6th Army Group allocated the 
available tonnage between its armies. 

48 A Gp AARs, Sep-Nov, pp. 3-4, Dec, pp. 
2-3; Record of Conversation, Maj. R. D. Hollis, 
SHAEF G-4 Sec, with Little and Lewis of G-4 
Plans, 26 Oct 44, 6 A Gp, 27 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 
Diversion of Service Troops Dragoon; Hist Rpt 
of TC ETO, VI, MRS, 14. 

Railway operations in southern France 
were conducted under Phase II condi- 
tions almost from the start, and very 
little mileage was ever operated entirely 
by military units. As in the north, short- 
ages of personnel, motive power, and 
rolling stock plagued operations. The 
shortage of cars was aggravated, as on 
the northern lines, by the failure to 
unload cars. Beginning in October hun- 
dreds of cars were consistently held 
under load as mobile reserves. 

Late in December the problem began 
to reach critical proportions as rail op- 
erations in the south suffered additional 
hazards and handicaps imposed by a 
severe winter in mountainous terrain. 
Extreme cold and drifting snow, which 
caused power failures, maintenance dif- 
ficulties, and disruption of communica- 
tions, plus sickness among the French 
crews and a shortage of coal, seriously 
hampered rail operations, resulting in 
the further piling up of loaded cars. 
At its worst, eight days of supplies ac- 
cumulated and awaited unloading or 
movement into railheads. An attempt to 
break the log-jam by placing a forty- 
eight-hour embargo on all loadings at 
Marseille brought only passing relief, 
and the pile-up continued. The worst 
occurred at Is-sur-Tille, the Seventh 
Army regulating station, where 2,000 
cars accumulated. Inclement weather 
also held up further rail reconstruction, 
with the result that the blown tunnel 
at Champagney continued to block the 
Lure-Belfort line, and the damaged 
Dannemarie viaduct the line between 
Belfort and Mulhouse. 

Operating conditions worsened in Jan- 
uary, when both forward deliveries and 



Convoy of Trucks Carrying Essential Supplies for Seventh Army travels over 
snow -covered winding roads in the Vosges mountains. 

unloadings dropped to an all-time low. 
At the end of the month 5,000 cars were 
still under load in yards and railheads of 
the two armies and of the Continental 
Advance Section. The supply of both 
armies reached a precarious state at that 
time, and led officials of the 6th Army 
Group and SOLOC to institute an even 
more rigid control over all transporta- 
tion in order to ensure delivery of the 
minimum tonnages of essential mainte- 
nance items. 

CONAD now began to allocate trains 
on a daily basis, specifying the exact 
number which were to go forward with 
Class I, III, and V supplies. Preparations 
were made to handle Class II and IV 
supplies almost exclusively by motor 
transport. For this purpose another spe- 

cial trucking operation, known, like that 
which operated briefly between Cher- 
bourg and Dol in November, as the 
Green Diamond Route, was organized 
to operate between the CONAD depots 
and the armies. One thousand vehicles 
were drawn from Delta Base and other 
COMZ sections for the job, including 
200 from CONAD itself. On 1 February 
sixteen companies, a majority of them 
of the 10-ton semitrailer type, and or- 
ganized along the lines of the special 
motor transport services in the north, 
began shuttling critically needed sup- 
plies from Dijon, Langres, and Is-sur- 
Tille to Seventh Army depots and supply 
points. 49 

49 6 A Gp G-4 AAR, Jan 45; CONAD History, pp. 
145, 164, 167; History of SOLOC, II, TC, si: Ltrs, 



These measures, plus a sudden im- 
provement in rail operations resulting 
from better weather and an increase in 
motive power, quickly relieved the crit- 
ical supply situation. Within six days 
the backlog of rail cars at Is-sur-Tille 
alone was reduced from 2,242 to 928 
despite unrestricted movements into the 
yards. In the second week of February 
deliveries to the armies reached an all- 
time record— 52,034 tons by rail and 
7,853 tons by truck. By mid-February 
the rebuilding of forward reserves had 
progressed so well that the special truck- 
ing operation could be terminated. 50 

Both the 1st and 2d Military Railway 
Services had experienced trying times in 
December and January, having been put 
to severe tests by both winter weather 
and the demands occasioned by enemy 
offensives. Experience in both the north 
and south had underscored the impor- 
tance of one of the most vital aspects 
of military transportation— movement 
control. Railway operations in a theater 
of war can rarely be conducted on a 
"scheduled" basis. Requirements for 
transport, reflecting the requirement for 
supplies, are subject to frequent changes. 
Rail lines, yards, depots, and handling 
equipment are often inadequate or de- 
stroyed. It is difficult to impose penalties 
for hoarding loaded rail cars. Existing 
facilities must therefore be used to the 
best possible advantage if the needs of 

Devers to Larkin, 2 Feb 45, and Larkin to Devers, 
4 Feb 45, ETO, Memos for Gen Larkin; Ltr, Brig 
Gen S. L. Scott, Dir Planning Div ASF, to Lutes in 
the ETO, 12 Dec 44, sub: Shipment of Locomotive 
Coal from U.S. to Marseille, ASF, Official Rpt Mis- 
sion to ETO, 4 Dec 44, 13 Jan 45 by Lutes. 
60 CONAD History, pp. 167-68. 

the combat elements are to be met. This 
means the allocation of rolling stock and 
the matching of facilities— loading, 
movement, and unloading— in such a 
way as to avoid waste. Movement control 
was far from perfect in both the north 
and south in the fall of 1944, as attested 
by the wasteful idleness of rolling stock 
and the choking up of rail lines. 

The organization and operation of the 
two services differed in at least one 
major respect. The 2d Military Railway 
Service in the north was operated by 
the Chief of Transportation, Commu- 
nications Zone, although the various op- 
erating units of which it was made up 
were attached to the COMZ section in 
which they operated. By the end of 1944 
movement control had become fairly 
centralized. The chief of transportation 
normally received movement require- 
ments each month from the COMZ G-4. 
In conference with the various divisions 
of the Office of the Chief of Transporta- 
tion, a decision was made as to how to 
fill the various movement needs, whether 
by rail, water, or truck. On the basis 
of this decision a movement plan was 
then drawn up, showing the ports at 
which certain tonnages would originate 
and the depots to which they were to be 
shipped. The 2d Military Railway Serv- 
ice, having been informed of the rail 
requirements for the plan, then pre- 
pared a detailed movement plan which 
was to be carried out through the rail- 
way operating battalions in co-operation 
with the COMZ sections involved. 

The 1st Military Railway Service, un- 
like the 2d, had been established as a 
separate subcommand of the Mediter- 
ranean theater, and enjoyed an unusual 
degree of autonomy. As such, it possessed 



its own engineers and carried out its 
own rail reconstruction, procured its 
own supplies and equipment, had its 
own operating units, and had assigned 
to it the necessary military police units 
to guard and protect supplies in transit. 
Movement control was not centralized 
for all modes of transportation as in the 
north. Once the tonnage bids were allo- 
cated, the ist Military Railway Service 
assumed control of its own movements, 
which it handled quite independently of 
the chief of transportation. 

Opinions differ as to whether this type 
organization had any advantages over 
that adopted in the north. Car shortages 
developed just as they did in the north; 
backlogs developed through failure to 
call cars forward; and the armies held 
on to loaded cars as rolling reserves. 
Clearing up the traffic backlog in Febru- 
ary was in fact largely attributable to 
the fact that the transportation officer of 
Continental Advance Section for the first 
time assumed the function of traffic regu- 
lator. 51 Some of the features of the south- 
ern system nevertheless were adopted for 
the Military Railway System as a whole 
in the spring of 1945. 

On 12 February 1945, when the sepa- 
rate Southern Line of Communications 
was dissolved and the northern and 
southern lines were finally integrated 
under one command, the two railway 
services were also brought under a cen- 
tral supervisory control— General Head- 
quarters, Military Railway Service, es- 
tablished in Paris under General Gray, 
who became subordinate to General 
Ross as theater chief of transportation. 

51 Opn, Orgn, Supply, and Svs of TC ETO, Gen 
Br Rpt 122, pp. 60-61; Hist Rpt of TC ETO, V, 
MRS, 15, and VI, MRS, 1-2. 

(3) Air Transport 

No unusual developments took place 
in the field of air transportation in the 
weeks immediately after the pursuit. 
After achieving an average delivery of 
slightly more than 1 ,000 tons per day in 
the second week of September, when 
troop-carrier and cargo aircraft of the 
First Allied Airborne Army and con- 
verted B-24 bombers from U.S. Strategic 
Air Force plus a small contingent from 
the RAF combined in a final effort, 
supply by air fell off abruptly when 
planes of the First Allied Airborne Army 
were finally withdrawn for the Holland 
airborne operation. 52 

For about a week only B-24's were 
available for air supply in support of 
the 12th Army Group. These were used 
to good advantage in the transportation 
of gasoline in bulk from the United 
Kingdom. The bombers had begun to 
haul limited amounts of bulk POL on 
9 September. Beginning on the 18th 
a major emergency effort was made to 
haul POL to three fields which the 
Ninth Air Force made available for the 
purpose on the Continent— St. Dizier, 
Clastres, and Florennes. The bombers 
could carry only 1,600 to 1,800 gallons 
of gas in four bomb bay tanks, and on 
the first day of the new effort only 1 1 
planes, carrying 17,580 gallons, made de- 
liveries. The next day 77 planes were 
dispatched to the Continent with 123,- 
414 gallons. The lift continued until 
30 September. The largest delivery was 
made on the 29th, when 197 planes 
moved 301,376 gallons. In the thirteen 
days of operations a total of 1,601 sorties 
were flown and 2,589,065 gallons of gas- 

02 See Logistical Support I, 578-83. 



oline were delivered to the Continent. 
About three fourths of the POL was 
flown to the three U.S. fields, the re- 
mainder to a British field for 21 Army 
Group. 53 

Meanwhile, on 22 September the can- 
cellation of a portion of the planned re- 
supply missions in Holland made an 
additional 30 troop-carrier aircraft avail- 
able, and the First Allied Airborne Army 
promised to increase the transport fleet 
to 600 craft as quickly as they became 
available. During the last week of Sep- 
tember total cargo deliveries rose to a 
record 1,525 tons per day, partly through 
the return of troop-carrier aircraft, 
partly through the continued use of B- 
24's and some British Halifaxes. Despite 
the constant uncertainty over the avail- 
ability of transport aircraft which char- 
acterized operations throughout the 
month, Allied planes flew 11,000 sorties 
and delivered more than 30,000 tons in 
September. This represented 60 percent 
of all the tonnage transported by air 
since D Day. 54 

The Communications Zone, faced 
with a sizable deficit in transportation, 
would have liked to continue utilizing 
the airlift to the fullest possible extent. 
At the beginning of October road and 
rail transportation were inadequate to 

53 Min, Mtg, Area Petroleum Office, 14 Sep 44, 
USFET 463.72 Ground Force Gasoline, II; file 
USFET Petroleum Office, Airlift of Gasoline by 
Plane, Cabinet 3007, Drawer 3. 

5 *Ltr, Wing Comdr G. G. Cradock- Watson to 
Distrib, 17 Oct 44, sub: Emergency Air Lift— Sep- 
tember 1944, SHAEF G-4 581.2 Transportation by 
Air of Supplies and Equipment II; TWX VX-25382, 
First Allied Airborne Army to SHAEF, 22 Sep 44, 
SHAEF G-3 Resupply by Air 24518/Ops; CATOR 
Weekly Load Summaries, Jun-Oct 44, AEAF A-3, 
505.27-30A, Air University Library, Maxwell Air- 
field Base. 

meet even the daily maintenance re- 
quirements of the armies, Advance Sec- 
tion, and the Ninth Air Force, to say 
nothing of moving forward the 150,000 
tons of supplies required to reconstitute 
the seven-day supply level authorized 
the armies. Between 6,000 and 7,000 
tons of additional lift were needed if 
both maintenance and reserve goals were 
to be met by the end of the month. Gen- 
eral Stratton, fully aware that this re- 
quirement was beyond the capacity of 
the available transport aircraft, never- 
theless asked the Army Group G-4, Gen- 
eral Moses, to seek the maximum pos- 
sible allocation from the SHAEF Air 
Priorities Board. 55 

Because of its relative extravagance 
as a means of transport, the continued 
large-scale employment of aircraft for 
supply movement was not approved. 
The use of bombers for this purpose 
had been uneconomical from the start, 
and at the end of September the B-24/s 
were withdrawn completely from their 
supply mission. Henceforth all air sup- 
ply was to be carried out by aircraft of 
the IX Troop Carrier Command (U.S.) 
and the 46 Group (British). SHAEF 
immediately reduced the allocation of 
planes for that purpose and attempted to 
limit their use strictly to meeting emer- 
gency needs as originally intended. Bad 
weather and lack of forward fields fur- 
ther affected the scale of air deliveries 
during the fall, and for about two and 
a half months deliveries averaged only 
about 675 tons per day. By allocation, 

M Memo, Stratton for Moses, 4 Oct 44, sub: Air- 
lift Requirements for Supply of First, Third, and 
Ninth Armies for Period 9-29 October Inclusive, 12 
A Gp Supply by Air, No. 133. 



approximately two thirds of this tonnage 
went to the 12th Army Group. 56 

The administrative procedure for ar- 
ranging supply by air was improved and 
simplified from time to time during the 
fall, but responsibility and authority of 
the various commands had to be clari- 
fied again and again. Supply SOP's speci- 
fied that the armies were to state their 
needs and priorities and that the Army 
Group would establish tonnage alloca- 
tions. Within those allocations the Com- 
munications Zone determined the means 
of delivery. Throughout the fall, how- 
ever, both the armies and the Commu- 
nications Zone frequently violated the 
intent of air supply policy. The armies 
requested air delivery of specific items, 
which was forbidden except in combat 
emergency, and the Communications 
Zone utilized air transportation for sup- 
plies no longer in critical shortage. Early 
in December Third Army complained 
that the airlift was being wasted in the 
shipment of gasoline, of which there was 
no longer a shortage, while its requests 
for the shipment of critical Class II and 
IV supplies, which it claimed were avail- 
able in both the United Kingdom and 

56 Supply and Evacuation by Air, Gen Br Rpt 26, 
p. 30; Memo, Whipple for G-4 SHAEF, 22 Nov 44, 
sub: Air Lift, SHAEF G-4 581.2 Transportation by 
Air of Supplies and Equipment II; 12 A Gp AAR 
3, 5 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 107 A Rpt General Informa- 
tion. On several occasions small planes were used 
to fly emergency supply missions to isolated units. 
Late in October P-47 fighter aircraft were employed 
in the Seventh Army area to deliver ammunition, 
rations, medical supplies, and signal batteries to a 
battalion of the 36th Division isolated in the Foret 
de Champ. Belly tanks were used to carry rations. 
In November the 95th Division used artillery liaison 
planes several times to evacuate wounded and to 
supply units cut off by the swollen Moselle and 
isolated during the siege of Metz. Supply and 
Evacuation by Air, Gen Bd Rpt 26, p. 31. 

Normandy, particularly signal items, 
had remained unfilled. Of a total of 
3,227 tons of supplies received during 
November, it pointed out, 2,143 tons 
consisted of gasoline and only 250 of 
Class II and IV supplies, 55 of which 
consisted of signal items. Gasoline, it 
suspected, was being shipped because it 
happened to be on hand at U.K. air- 
fields and was the most convenient cargo 
to handle. 57 

Early in December SHAEF further 
reduced the allocation of aircraft for 
supply and evacuation— to 150 planes 
from the IX Troop Carrier Command 
and 40 from 46 Group— the intention 
being to keep only a standby organiza- 
tion in operation at a reduced scale, but 
capable of immediate expansion. The 
major air supply effort of the month was 
made only a few days later, when it 
became necessary to resupply units iso- 
lated by the enemy break-through in the 
Ardennes. Between 23 and 27 December 
850 planes were dispatched to Bastogne 
to parachute urgently needed supplies 
to the besieged 101st Airborne Division. 
Another sixty-one craft were dispatched 
with gliders, one of them bearing surgi- 
cal teams. Although some planes were 
lost to enemy fire, and some supplies 
could not be recovered because of errors 
in dropping, the deliveries, totaling 850 
tons and estimated to be about 95 per- 
cent effective, were considered the most 
successful ever made to the 101st Di- 
vision. 58 

"Memo, Muller, TUSA G-4, for Stratton, 12 Dec 
44, with 14 Incls, attached to TUSA G-4 Periodic 
Rpt 19, 2-9 Dec 44, 12 A Gp 319.1 G-4 Rpts, I; 
Supply and Evacuation by Air, Gen Bd Rpt 26, pp. 
i5-!7» 19-20. 

08 About fifty tons of this total were air landed. 

C-47's Airdropping Supplies by Parachute to an isolated unit of the ioist 
Airborne Division, Basiogne, 26 December 1944. 



A similar attempt to supply isolated 
elements of the 3d Armored Division in 
Belgium miscarried. Of twenty-nine air- 
craft dispatched to the division with gas- 
oline and medical supplies on 23 Decem- 
ber, twenty-three dropped their loads in 
enemy territory as the result of a mis- 
reading of map co-ordinates, and the 
remainder were either diverted or lost to 
enemy action. Bad weather frustrated 
a second attempt on 24 December. 59 

While the resupply of airborne units 
at Bastogne was regarded as a very cred- 
itable performance, few of the agencies 
involved were properly prepared for the 
emergency, and sharp words were ex- 
changed between the 12th Army Group 
and COMZ staffs before the operation 
got under way. 60 After the emergency 
SHAEF ordered the Communications 
Zone to maintain balanced stocks of sup- 
plies required to support type units of 
airborne, armored, and infantry divi- 
sions in sufficient quantity to load all 
troop-carrier aircraft for a maximum 
two-day lift. 61 Shortly thereafter the 
Communications Zone prepared sixteen 
"bricks" of supplies at various airfields 
in the United Kingdom and on the Con- 
tinent, each containing one day of supply 
for a division. The basic brick was de- 
signed to meet the needs of an airborne 

59 Operation Repulse, Rpt of the IX TCC, dated 
3 Jan 45, SHAEF AG 581.2-1 Supply by Air; Ltr, 
Hq 101st Airborne Div to CG TUSA, 11 Jan 45, 
sub: Rpt of Air Resupply to 101st Airborne Div at 
Bastogne, SHAEF G-3 24518/Ops Resupply by Air; 
Supply and Evacuation by Air, Gen Bd Rpt 26, pp. 
32-33. The 101st Airborne Division listed only 820 
planes and 42 gliders as having delivered supplies 
to the Bastogne area. 

80 Memo, McCormack for Moses, 1 Jan 45, sub: Air 
Resupply of Isolated Units (location unknown). 

61 Cbl S-73225, SHAEF G-4 to COMZ, 31 Dec 44, 
SHAEF G-3 24518/Ops Resupply by Air. 

division and weighed 270.5 tons, but 
could be readily augmented with pre- 
packed 76-mm. gun and 155-mm. how- 
itzer ammunition to meet the needs of 
infantry and armored divisions. One ad- 
ditional brick was designed and packed 
for a regimental combat team. 62 

Supply by air continued at a relatively 
small scale throughout the period of the 
Ardennes battle, partly because of per- 
sistently bad weather. Deliveries aver- 
aged only 185 tons per day in January, 
the tonnage being divided about equally 
between 12th and 21 Army Groups. 63 

(4) Inland Waterways 

The Overlord planners had not con- 
sidered the inland waterways on the Con- 
tinent of sufficient military value to war- 
rant a large-scale rehabilitation effort. 
The policy was laid down of restoring 
waterways only in cases where minor re- 
pairs were required and where a clear 
military necessity existed. Any opportu- 
nity for the advantageous utilization of 
inland waterways for military transporta- 
tion was counted as a bonus. 

By September 1944 a clear-cut need 
had arisen to restore certain waterways 
in northern France to relieve the hard- 
pressed railways from the burden of coal 
movements into the Paris area. The 
Communications Zone at that time ap- 
pointed an Inland Waterways Commit- 
tee to recommend priorities for inland 
waterway restoration, estimate the man- 
power and equipment requirements, and 

^Cbl EX-91351, COMZ to SHAEF, 27 Jan 45, 
SHAEF G-3 23518/Ops. 

63 See 12 A Gp Supply by Air file for statistics on 
deliveries; also CATOR Weekly Load Summaries 
AEAF A-3 505.46-7, Air University Library, Max- 
well Airfield Base. 



act as the U.S. agent in all dealings with 
the French on these matters. Early in 
November, when the inland waterways 
began to assume importance in the 
movement of military supplies, an In- 
land Waterways Division was established 
in the Office of the Chief of Transpor- 
tation. 64 

Four main waterways were eventually 
rehabilitated— the Oise, Seine, and 
Rhone-Saone Rivers, and the Albert 
Canal. None of these had been seriously 
damaged, with the exception of some of 
the locks. But all were clogged with 
demolished bridges, which not only ob- 
structed barge navigation, but prevented 
the movement of floating equipment. 
French and Belgian authorities tried to 
salvage as many of the demolished 
bridges as possible, raising them and 
eventually restoring them to rail or high- 
way use. Civilians carried out the bulk 
of the work, although U.S. troop units 
usually provided the skilled supervisory 
personnel and much of the heavy con- 
struction equipment. Practically no pris- 
oner of war labor was employed. 

First priority was given to the clear- 
ance of that portion of the Oise River 
system extending from the Chauny and 
Valenciennes coal fields to Conflans on 
the Seine, about thirty-five miles below 
Paris. Several locks, including the large 
one at Creil, had to be repaired, and 
thirty-four obstructions, mostly blown 
bridges, had to be removed. The 1057th 
Port Construction and Repair Group 
provided the skilled labor for this pro- 
ject, and also supplied the French— who 
performed about 60 percent of the labor 

"Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 
277; COMZ G-4 History, III, p. 69. 

—with fuel, equipment, and other sup- 
plies. The first objective, cutting a single 
40-foot wide channel the entire way, was 
completed early in November and the 
first coal barges arrived in Paris on the 

The Seine River, while part of the 
French coal distribution system, was re- 
stored primarily to facilitate the trans- 
portation of civil imports from Le Havre 
and Rouen. Demolished bridges and 
damaged locks and dams blocked traffic 
on the Seine as on the other waterways. 
The biggest single task was the repair 
of the locks of the Tancarville Canal, 
which connected Le Havre with the 
Seine at Tancarville, about fifteen miles 
up the river. The canal had been built 
to permit barges, loaded directly from 
ocean-going ships in a basin at Le Havre, 
to reach the Seine without traversing 
the mouth of the estuary, where strong 
tidal currents made navigation difficult. 
U.S. engineer units initially were too 
occupied with the reconstruction of Le 
Havre to assist in the repair of the locks, 
and the French port authorities there- 
fore undertook the task unassisted. Lack- 
ing adequate salvage and engineer equip- 
ment, they made little progress. U.S. 
naval salvage equipment also failed to 
raise the sunken ebb gates, and the job 
was finally assigned to the 1055th Port 
Construction and Repair Group, which 
aided French contractors by furnishing 
the necessary equipment and trained op- 
erators. Repair of the lock was not com- 
pleted until mid-March 1945. 

French civilian organizations, assisted 
by U.S. and British construction units, 
meanwhile had restored the Seine to 
navigation for both civil and military 
traffic. But that traffic for a long time was 



Barge Convoy on Albert Canal carrying lumber from Antwerp to Liege, 
February 1945. 

plagued by one bottleneck or another. 
Barge traffic was obstructed at first by 
two ponton bridges, which, when they 
were opened to clear barge traffic, inter- 
rupted vehicular traffic across the river. 
A more serious stricture developed at 
Le Manoir, where a temporary railway 
bridge built by British forces left insuf- 
ficient clearance for barges. Raising the 
center span several feet in October pro- 
vided no permanent solution, for the 
Seine reached flood stage in November 
and again reduced clearance below the 
required minimum. At the end of No- 
vember flood conditions threatened to 
knock out the bridge, and forced a tem- 
porary stoppage of barge traffic on the 
river because of the danger from swift 
currents. A decision to remove the 

bridge depended on whether British sup- 
plies forwarded from the Caen-Bayeux 
area could be handled via Paris. The 
issue was finally settled on 25 December, 
when a tug struck the Le Manoir bridge 
and put it out of commission. The 
bridge was then removed. 65 

Although the restoration of the Oise 
and Seine Rivers and the canal system 
was initially undertaken to meet civilian 
needs, it promised important benefits to 
the military forces by relieving the rail- 
ways, particularly in the distribution of 

65 Port Construction and Repair, Hist Rpt 11, CE 
ETO, pp. 90-102; Final Report of the Chief En- 
gineer ETO, I, 277; Ltr DWP to Potter, 4 Nov 
44, sub: Opening of Seine to Navigation, and Sum- 
mary of Br Chiefs' Mtg, 4, 16, 17, and 30 Nov 44, 
G-4 Plant and Communications Diary/Jnl, ETO 
Adm 145C. 



coal. The Albert Canal in Belgium had 
a more direct military value, and its 
rehabilitation was the principal inland 
waterway project jointly undertaken by 
U.S. and British forces. The canal, built 
between 1933 and 1939, connected Liege 
with Antwerp, a distance of eighty miles. 
Eight groups of locks, each group of 
three built to accommodate one 600-ton 
and two 2,000-ton barges, reduced the 
water level from sixty meters at Liege 
(on the Meuse) to sea level at Antwerp. 
U.S. forces were assigned responsibility 
for restoring the approximately fifty 
miles of the canal between Liege and 
Kwaadesmechelen, British forces the re- 

The Advance Section initially laid out 
twenty-four work projects on its portion 
of the canal, most of them involving 
bridge removal or repair of locks, which 
would open the canal to 600-ton barges. 
These tasks were carried out under the 
supervision of the 1056th PC&R Group, 
with the assistance of the 355th and 
333d Engineer General Service Regi- 
ments and Belgian civilian contractors, 
and were completed early in December, 
as scheduled. Delays in removing the 
Yserberg Bridge at Antwerp at first pre- 
vented full use of the canal, but barges 
could be loaded just east of that point 
by trucking directly from the port area. 
In any event, transportation on the Al- 
bert Canal got off to an unspectacular 
start. Ice and flood conditions created 
operational hazards as on the Seine, and 
the enemy counteroffensive completely 

upset transportation plans in the for- 
ward areas, forcing an embargo on barge 
traffic. Once these difficulties were over- 
come, the canal played an important 
role in the clearance of Antwerp, even- 
tually handling about 50 percent of the 
tonnage discharged there. 66 

The Rhone-Saone waterway was re- 
habilitated almost entirely by the 
French. Except for some local clearance 
at Marseille, and a limited traffic in 
POL, however, the Rhone had prac- 
tically no military value, largely because 
of the lack of high-powered tugs re- 
quired for operation on the swift waters 
of the system. 67 

The four months' period after the 
pursuit represented a transition so far 
as transportation developments were 
concerned. Its most obvious feature was 
the gradual assumption of the bulk of 
the long-distance hauling by the rail- 
ways. Motor transport, particularly in 
the form of the color routes, continued 
to provide a degree of flexibility in per- 
forming special missions. But the cut- 
back in motor as well as air transport 
signaled the end of expedients necessi- 
tated by the emergency conditions in 
the summer of 1944 and an eventual 
return to more conventional means of 

6tI Port Construction and Repair, pp. 83-90; Final 
Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 278; ADSEC 
Operational History, p. 108. 

G7 COMZ G-4 History, III, p. 71; Final Report of 
the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 278. 


Forward Movements 

(i) The Tonnage Allocations System 

For nearly two months after the end 
of the pursuit in mid-September 1944 
the inadequacy of transportation lay at 
the root of most of the Allies' immediate 
logistic difficulties. The lack of port dis- 
charge capacity, while a potentially omi- 
nous limiting factor, did not as yet di- 
rectly affect the Allies' ability to con- 
tinue large-scale offensive operations. 
Additional port capacity in mid-Septem- 
ber would have relieved the taut logistic 
situation only if it had resulted in short- 
ened lines of communications— in other 
words, if ports farther up the Channel 
could have been brought into use. And 
while there were shortages of certain 
items of supply, substantial reserve 
stocks in most categories lay in the Nor- 
mandy depots and in the ships offshore. 
The main problem was their movement 
forward. For the time being, therefore, 
the deficiency in transport was the com- 
mon denominator of most of the Allies' 
supply troubles. 

The prospects of meeting the growing 
needs of U.S. forces in mid-September 
were dim indeed. Minimum mainte- 
nance requirements in the combat zone 
already came to more than 13,000 tons 
per day, 1 and would rise as new divisions 

1 On the basis of 550 tons per division slice, and 
including Ninth Air Force needs. 

were brought forward. In addition, be- 
tween 150,000 and 180,000 tons of sup- 
plies were needed in the forward areas 
for repairing or replacing Table of 
Equipment material, replenishing basic 
loads, building army and ADSEC re- 
serves, and providing winter clothing. 2 
Against these requirements the Com- 
munications Zone was delivering only 
about 11,000 tons per day in mid-Sep- 
tember, 7,000 of which were earmarked 
for the two armies, the remainder for 
the Ninth Air Force, the Advance Sec- 
tion, and various special demands. Only 
40,000 tons of reserves, representing but 
a few days of supply, had been moved 
forward of St. L6, and 75 percent of that 
still lay in dumps west of Paris. 3 These 
hard facts led inescapably to the con- 
clusion that, temporarily at least, U.S. 
forces could not be supported at the 
desired scales. This meant rationing the 
available support in accord with opera- 
tional priorities. 

2 Ltr, 12 A Gp to CG COMZ, 16 Sep 44, sub: 
Tonnage Rqmts of the Armies, and Memo, M. F. 
Hass for G-4 12 A Gp, 21 Sep 44, sub: Estimate of 
Tonnage Rqmts, both in 12 A Gp Tonnages 137; 
COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications Diary/Jnl, 
19 Sep 44, ETO Adm 145C. 

11 Ltr, Vissering, Deputy G-4 Mov and Tn Br 
SHAEF, 14 Sep 44, sub: Observations on Trip to 
Paris, SHAEF SGS 617 Railroads; Memo for Record, 
Col T. F. Taylor, 12 A Gp G-4 Sec, 6 Sep 44, 
Memos-Moses, SHAEF 12 A Gp G-4, Folder 86. 



A rationing system had in effect been 
instituted on the last day of August 
when the 12th Army Group commander 
divided the available tonnage, initially 
allotting a larger share to First Army 
than to Third. 4 On 5 September the 
army group commander made the first 
change in the allocation, dividing the 
first 7,000 tons equally between the two 
armies. By using their own transporta- 
tion both armies were able to supple- 
ment their meager rations somewhat, 
but there was no prospect that the Com- 
munications Zone, unable for the mo- 
ment to deliver even minimum mainte- 
nance requirements, might begin to 
forward reserves. 5 

A new allocation issued on 14 Septem- 
ber renewed the equal sharing of the 
first 7,000 tons, but reflected a slightly 
greater optimism in allocating army ton- 
nage in excess of 7,000 to First Army up 
to 1,500 tons and any additional tonnage 
to the Third Army. The Communica- 
tions Zone was authorized at this time to 
use the trucks of the 104th, 95th, and 
26th Divisions for two weeks to haul 

Further changes in allocations were 
made in the next two weeks in accord- 
ance with plans to shift the weight of 
operations to the north and in recogni- 
tion of changes in the order of battle 
and in the strength of the armies. On 
2 1 September General Bradley approved 
a new allocation giving 3,500 tons per 

4 See Logistical Support I, 491. 

5 Memo, G-4 Movs 12 A Gp for G-4, 13 Sep 44, 
sub: Transportation for Replacements, 12 A Gp 
Rolling Stock 106; Memo, Moses for Bradley, 16 
Sep 44, sub: Supply Situation, 12 A Gp Supplies, 
Misc, 126. 

a Memo for Record, Moses, 14 Sep 44, 12 A Gp 
Supplies, Misc, 126. 

day to Third Army and 700 tons to the 
Ninth Army, which was scheduled to 
take over a sector between the Third 
and First Armies, and assigning the re- 
mainder to First Army, but with the 
understanding that it would get a mini- 
mum of 5,000 tons. 7 

Before the new allocation could be- 
come effective, the transfer of an arm- 
ored division from Third Army to First 
resulted in a corresponding shift of 400 
tons from General Patton's forces, giving 
the First Army 5,400 tons per day and 
the Third 3,ioo. 8 The new apportion- 
ment went into effect on 27 September, 
at which time the First Army had ten 
divisions and the Third Army eight. 9 
The Ninth Army was then in process 
of movement from Brittany, and within 
the next weeks placed a corps (the VIII) 
of two divisions in the line between the 
First and Third Armies. 10 

Forward deliveries roughly approxi- 
mated the tonnage allocation in the next 
few weeks. Since the allocation consti- 
tuted a starvation diet, the armies con- 
sumed virtually everything they re- 
ceived. Under these circumstances they 
were forced to confine their requisitions 

7 Memo for Record, Moses, 21 Sep 44, Memos— 
Moses, SHAEF 12 A Gp G-4, Folder 86; Diary of 
the 12 A Gp G-4, 21 Sep 44. 

8 A further reduction in Third Army's share was 
contemplated in the event of XV Corps' transfer to 
the Seventh Army, although Bradley hoped to keep 
the corps in the 12th Army Group and support it 
via the southern lines of communications. 

9 Memo for Record, Moses, 23 Sep 44, sub: Conf 
Held by Gen Bradley This Date, Memos— Moses, 
SHAEF 12 A Gp G-4, Folder 86; 12 A Gp G-4 
Diary, 23 Sep 44. 

10 In view of its limited tonnage allocation, the 
Third Army requested authority to operate a train 
back to the beaches, offering to provide its own 
loading details and guards, but the request was 
denied. TUSA AAR, II, G-4, p. 18. 



to absolute essentials, for all require- 
ments without exception were charged 
against the assigned allocations. This 
meant that even mail absorbed tonnage 
whenever the armies desired its delivery. 
The 12 th Army Group refused to make 
any exceptions for special requirements, 
as, for example, when Third Army re- 
quested that transportation exclusive of 
the daily allocation be provided for the 
movement of winterization supplies and 
equipment. 11 

In this situation it was naturally of 
the highest concern to the armies that 
they get the maximum tonnage allotted 
them, and that it consist only of useful 
items. In the frantic scramble of late 
September, however, the unavailability 
of supplies at precisely the time they 
were requisitioned, and the day-to-day 
uncertainty over transportation resulted 
in something less than perfect function- 
ing of the allocations system. In addi- 
tion, the modification of carefully 
worked out supply SOP's in the name 
of expediency, the hauling of supplies 
in army transportation, and the misdi- 
rection and misappropriation of sup- 
plies, the receipt of which was never 
acknowledged by anyone, 12 produced 
conflicting claims as to what was actually 

Late in September General Lord re- 
ported to SHAEF that in the nine-day 
period from 16 to 24 September the 
Communications Zone had far exceeded 
its commitments to the armies, deliver- 

11 Memo, Wilson for Hodges, 19 Sep 44, and Ltr, 
12 A Gp to TUSA, late Sep, sub: Rqmts for 
Winterization of TUSA, both in 12 A Gp Tonnage 

1 37- 

" Notes on the Supply Situation of 12 A Gp, Col 
Charles W, McCarthy, n.d. [late Sep], SHAEF G-4 
400.192 Supply Report I. 

ing 127,000 tons of supplies against a 
guarantee of only 63,000 tons and against 
requisitions totaling only about 66,000 
tons. 13 General Moses, the 12th Army 
Group G-4, pointed out that these fig- 
ures were inaccurate and misleading. 
The armies, he noted, had reported re- 
ceipt of only 84,000 tons, including 23,- 
000 brought forward in their own trucks, 
indicating that the Communications 
Zone had delivered only the tonnage it 
was committed to move under the cur- 
rent allocation. Furthermore, according 
to army and army group figures, 40,000 
tons o£ the supplies delivered had come 
from stocks which had been accumulated 
in army service areas west of the Seine 
and which the armies had been forced 
to leave behind in their rapid advance. 
Credit for the delivery of this tonnage 
had therefore been given to the Com- 
munications Zone once before. 

The 66,000-ton requisition was ex- 
plained by the simple fact that the armies 
had been compelled to keep requests 
within the bounds of the tonnage alloca- 
tions. They would have liked to requisi- 
tion about 120,000 tons for maintenance 
alone. "We rationed tonnage/* General 
Moses pointed out, "to distribute a scar- 
city, not to comfort CZ [Communica- 
tions Zone] in continuing a famine." Ac- 
cording to General Bradley's G-4, the 
armies needed 650 tons per division slice 
to fight effectively. Instead, they had re- 
ceived 550 tons per division, 400 of 
which were delivered by the Communi- 

13 Ltr, Lord to Smith, 26 Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 
400.3/1 Supply Problems of Allied Advance; Ltr, 
Lord to Lutes, 27 Sep 44, EUCOM 400 Supplies, 
Services, and Equipment, General, V. 



cations Zone, 150 by their own transpor- 
tation. 14 

The statistics offered by General Lord 
were hardly calculated to inspire greater 
confidence in the Communications Zone, 
either as to claims of past performance 
or predictions of future capabilities. 
General Moses put it mildly when, in 
expressing his doubts on the latter, he 
said, "We do not know what we will 
actually receive but we feel fairly certain 
that there will be a number of things 
requisitioned that will not materialize." 15 

Even more exasperating and inexpli- 
cable to the armies was the Communica- 
tions Zone's practice of shipping them 
supplies which they had not requested 
and for which they had no immediate 
need. To the armies, always suspicious 
of the Communications Zone's mysteri- 
ous ways and jealous of their meager 
ration of tonnage, this was an inexcusa- 
ble waste of the limited lift available to 
them. But requisitioned items were not 
always within reach of the technical serv- 
ices for loading on a particular day, and 
because the Communications Zone did 
not want to see the available outloading 
capacity go unused it frequently shipped 
substitute items, for which the armies 
admittedly might not have immediate 
use, as fillers. 

The armies were not inclined to ac- 
cept such explanations. In fact, they ob- 
jected to dealing with supply allocations 
and movements in terms of tonnages at 
all. They suspected that the Communica- 
tions Zone, in its enthusiasm to register 

14 Ltr, Moses to Crawford, 2 Oct 44, SHAEF SGS 
400.3/1 Supply Problems of Allied Advance; Memo, 
Moses for Bradley, 1 Oct 44, 12 A Gp Supplies, 
Misc, 126. 

18 Ltr, Moses to Crawford, 2 Oct 44. 

high daily tonnage records, tended to 
overlook the importance which particu- 
lar items might have for the armies, and 
to ship supplies most readily accessible, 
although they might have little or no 
local value. The armies desired that 
greater efforts be made to provide the 
specific items they requested. Under cur- 
rent procedures the Communications 
Zone simply canceled requisitions or the 
portions thereof which could not be 
filled within two days. The result was 
that the armies were inadequately in- 
formed as to what supplies they could 
expect to receive. No other aspect of 
supply was quite so frustrating to opera- 
tional planning or more conducive to the 
padding of requisitions and hoarding. 16 

The problem of co-ordinating supply 
distribution between the Communica- 
tions Zone, the army group, and the air 
forces, and the need to apportion the 
available resources in accord with opera- 
tional priorities determined at the Allied 
level made it inevitable that Supreme 
Headquarters should eventually become 
involved in the allocation business. 
SHAEF prepared to take over the con- 
trol of priorities early in October when 
the supply outlook was still extremely 
dismal. At the time practically no prog- 
ress had been made in overcoming the 
worst effects of the pursuit. Neither First 
nor Third Army had been able to ac- 
cumulate more than two days of supply 
and two units of fire, and Ninth Army 
was getting nothing beyond current 
maintenance needs. Motor transport was 

10 Notes on the Supply Situation of 12 A Gp, 
McCarthy; Memo, Col T. F. Taylor, Supply Br 
G-4 12 A Gp for G-4, 19 Sep 44, 12 A Gp Tonnage 



still being operated to the maximum of 
its capabilities, and higher echelon re- 
pair had not been performed since the 
early days of the beachhead. Heavy cloth- 
ing and other winterization equipment 
and materials needed for the expected 
bridging operations were being moved 
up, but in nothing like adequate quan- 

Allocating the available supplies was 
essentially the responsibility of the 
SHAEF G-4, who announced that allo- 
cations would be determined on the basis 
of estimates of movement capabilities 
provided by the commanders of the 
three lines of communications (that is, 
the Communications Zone, the 2 1 Army 
Group, and SOLOC), on the tonnage 
bids submitted by the army groups, and 
on the projected scale, nature, and rela- 
tive priority of tactical operations as 
outlined by the G-3. With this data the 
Logistical Plans Branch was to prepare 
a logistical study and recommend over- 
all tonnage allocations. The concurrence 
of the G-3, as well as that of other in- 
terested parties, such as Movements and 
Transportation Branch, was of course 
necessary before the recommended allo- 
cation was finally sent to the G-4 for 
approval. 17 

The Logistical Plans Branch sub- 
mitted its first allocations study on 8 
October, covering the two-week period 
from the 15th to the 28th. Projected 
tactical operations in that period called 
for continued battering along the entire 

" Memo for Record, Moses, 9 Oct 44, sub: Conf 
Conducted by Gen Bradley This Date, 12 A Gp 
Supplies, Misc, is>6; Ltr, Whipple to Stf Sees, 10 
Oct 44, sub: Alloc of Tonnage, SHAEF G-4 400 
Supplies, General, III; Ltr, SHAEF to Major 
Comds, 16 Oct 44, sub: Alloc of Tonnages, SHAEF 
G-4 563.59 Tonnages and Estimates of, I. 

Allied line, with the greatest weight be- 
hind the attacks on the north. The 12th 
Army Group at this time consisted of 
twenty divisions, supported by an equal 
number of fighter squadrons. But five 
additional divisions were available for 
commitment, subject only to the provi- 
sion of the necessary logistic support. 
Logistic planners calculated that the 
commitment of all twenty-five divisions 
and the building of minimum reserves 
for the three armies would require the 
delivery of 22,320 tons per day to the 
12th Army Group, based on require- 
ments of 840 tons per division (560 
for maintenance 18 and 280 for reserves), 
plus 1,320 tons for headquarters and spe- 
cial troops, coal, and civil affairs sup- 

The 12th Army Group had actually 
submitted a bid for 18,000-20,000 tons 
per day for the allocation period in ques- 
tion, and the Communications Zone 
had estimated its average delivery capa- 
bilities at 15,000 tons, exclusive of Ninth 
Air Force and ADSEC maintenance 
stocks. While forward deliveries prom- 
ised to be much improved over Septem- 
ber, therefore, they were certain to fall 
far short of the needs of an enlarged 
combat force. It was clear that there 
would have to be either a reduction in 
the projected scale of support, a limita- 
tion in the number of divisions em- 

18 Maintenance requirements per division slice in 
the army group were divided as follows: 
Class Tons 



ployed, or a combination of the two. 

Within the limitations imposed by 
the Communications Zone's estimated 
delivery capabilities the first SHAEF 
allocations study concluded that twenty 
divisions could be supported if certain 
adjustments were made in the projected 
scales of maintenance and reserves. Only 
First Army, which had first priority in 
its effort, could be permitted to accumu- 
late reserves and thus get the full 840 
tons per division. Third Army's allow- 
ance of POL was to be somewhat less 
than normal but its ration of ammuni- 
tion was to be doubled (300 tons per 
division as against 150 for divisions in 
the other armies) because of the heavy 
concentration of artillery on its front. 
This would give Third Army 610 tons 
of maintenance supplies per division as 
against 560 in the other armies. The al- 
location of the entire 15,500 tons on this 
basis would thus permit the maintenance 
of twenty divisions in combat at accept- 
able maintenance scales and an accumu- 
lation of reserves for half that force. 19 

The SHAEF G-4 decided to postpone 
implementation of the proposed alloca- 
tion. Instead, on 9 October General 
Crawford assigned to the Communica- 
tions Zone as a first priority commitment 
the delivery of 12,500 tons of supplies 
to the 12 th Army Group each day plus 
2,000 tons to the Ninth Air Force until 
further notice, without specifying the 
scales of maintenance or proportions for 
the various armies. He asked the Com- 

19 Alloc of Tonnages 1 to 12 A Gp for Period 
15-28 Oct 44, Log Plans Br G-4 SHAEF, 8 Oct 44, 
SHAEF G-4 400 Supplies, General, III; also Ltr, 
Whipple to G-4, 8 Oct 44, sub: Tonnage Alloc 
with Incl, Logistical Study of Tonnage Rqmts, 
SHAEF G-4 563.59 Tonnages and Estimates of, I, 

munications Zone to make every effort 
not only to meet these targets but to 
forward only the items requested. 20 

The decision to postpone implemen- 
tation of the proposed allocation may 
have been inspired partly by the knowl- 
edge that Ninth Army's movement to 
a sector north of First Army was then 
being considered. More probably it re- 
sulted from the widely held doubts con- 
cerning the likelihood of achieving the 
delivery figures which the Communi- 
cations Zone had submitted and which 
the SHAEF logistical planners had ac- 
cepted as a basis for their recommended 
allocations. Colonel Whipple, chief of 
the Logistical Plans Branch, himself was 
extremely pessimistic in mid-October, 
asserting that with the scale of support 
then being provided the 12 th Army 
Group only thirteen divisions were prop- 
erly maintainable, although twenty-three 
were actually in line. Others, conclud- 
ing that the Communications Zone had 
overestimated its own movement capa- 
bilities, expressed the the view that only 
maintenance requirements could be met 
until about mid-November, and that the 
reserves needed for a sustained offensive 
could not be established before the end 
of the month. 21 That some confusion and 
misunderstanding existed is indicated 
by the fact that on 22 October the 12 th 
Army Group issued a new allocation, 

20 TWX S-61549, SHAEF G-4 to COMZ and 12 
A Gp, 9 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 563.59 Tonnages and 
Estimates of, I, 44. 

21 Memo, Whipple for Orgn and Equipment Opns 
A Plans G-3, 21 Oct 44, sub: Maintenance of 12 A 
Gp Divs, and Statement by Whipple, Divs Which 
Can Be Maintained on Adequate Scales, 20 Oct 44, 
SHAEF G-4, Logistical Forecasts; COMZ G-4 Plant 
and Communications Diary /Jnl, 21 Oct 44, ETO 
Adm 145C; Memo, Hass for G-4 12 A Gp, 18 Oct 
44, sub: Daily Tonnages, 12 A Gp Tonnage 137. 



dividing 15,000 tons between its three 
armies, 22 only to be told that the Com- 
munications Zone had been given a com- 
mitment of merely i2,5oo. 23 

SHAEF finally placed its new ration- 
ing procedure in operation for the pe- 
riod 5-18 November, the first allocation 
being based on a fresh logistic survey 
made late in October. By 5 November 
the regrouping of the 12th Army Group 
was expected to be completed, with the 
Ninth Army, consisting of three corps, 
deployed north of Aachen, on the First 
Army's left. By the end of the allocation 
period twenty-seven divisions were ex- 
pected to be operational in the 12th 
Army Group. Tactical operations con- 
templated for the period included an 
advance to the Rhine by all four U.S. 
armies (including the Seventh) and a 
bridgehead for First Army at Cologne. 

With these considerations in mind the 
12th Army Group placed a bid for 33,- 
430 tons per day— 28,333 for the ground 
forces and 5,097 for the Ninth Air Force. 
SHAEF logistical planners considered 
some of the requests unreasonable and 
recommended a cut to 27,000 tons. Add- 
ing Advance Section's requirements to 
this figure brought the total demand for 
forward deliveries— that is, beyond Paris 
—to 31,200 tons. 

The Communications Zone, mean- 
while, had estimated its movement capa- 
bility at more than 30,000 tons. But 
SHAEF planners considered this figure 
unrealistic, partly because it involved 
relying on fairly heavy movements out 
of Le Havre before the bridge across the 

22 Memo, Moses for Bradley, 22 Oct 44, Memos— 
Moses, SHAEF 12 A Gp G-4, Folder 86. 

M Memo, Col Edwin N. Clark for G-4, 24 Oct 44, 
sub: Allocs of Tonnage by 12 A Gp. 

Tancarville Canal was repaired, and 
partly because it was believed to include 
overoptimistic estimates on water trans- 
port from Rouen and on rail clearance 
out of Cherbourg, They did not con- 
sider the Communications Zone capable 
of delivering more than 21,900 to the 
combat zone, or 24,400 beyond Paris. 
This would leave a deficit of at least 
5,000 tons. 

In the end the estimate of the Com- 
munications Zone's movement capabili- 
ties was reduced still further, and on the 
G"4*s recommendation Supreme Head- 
quarters finally set the Communications 
Zone a first priority commitment to de- 
liver 20,000 tons per day to the 12th 
Army Group— 16,700 tons to the armies 
and 3,300 to the Ninth Air Force. 24 The 
12th Army Group in turn suballocated 
this tonnage to its three armies in ac- 
cord with operational priorities, the ton- 
nages differing for "active" and "quiet" 
divisions and for armored and infantry 
units. 25 

The disparity between the army group 

M Ltr, Whipple to Current Opns Br G-4 et al., 
27 Oct 44, sub: SHAEF Tonnage Alloc 1, and Ltr, 
Crawford to CofS, 51 Oct 44, sub: Tonnage Allocs, 
SHAEF G-4 563.59 Tonnages and Estimates of, I, 
44. The CAO, General Gale, disapproved the al- 
locations study, insisting that the logistic planners 
were in no position to make cuts in the various 
bids on the basis of comparison with October con- 
sumption figures. General Crawford thereupon re- 
submitted the study without any analysis of the 
"reasonableness" of the various bids. But this did 
not alter the amount of tonnage available or its 
allocation. The only result was an increase in the 
deficit— on paper, at least— from about 6,500 tons 
per day to 13,500. Ltr, Gale to Crawford, 3 Nov 44, 
sub: Tonnage Allocs, and Ltr, Crawford to Gale, 
4 Nov 44, same sub, SHAEF G-4 Tonnage Alloca- 
tions, Log Plans Br 153/5, Folder 48. 

20 Breakdown of Current Allocs, G-4 1 2 A Gp, 
ia A Gp Tonnage 137; TWX QX-23075, 12 A Gp 
to COMZ, 3 Nov 44, SHAEF G-4 563.59 Tonnages 
and Estimates of, I, 44. 



requests and the tonnage targets which 
SHAEF regarded as attainable appeared 
to reveal a more glaring transportation 
deficit than ever, underscoring the need 
to develop the railways at a faster rate, 
to open Antwerp, to utilize inland water- 
ways and local resources, particularly 
coal, more fully, and, if possible, to make 
joint use of the Rhone valley line of 
communications. Moreover, supply pol- 
icy had favored the First Army, particu- 
larly in the matter of reserves, and had 
resulted in inequities in distribution out 
of proportion to the tonnage allocations. 

Tonnage movements in the period 5- 
18 November fell short of the targets 
established by the first SHAEF alloca- 
tion, averaging 12,400 tons to the armies 
and air force units in the 12th Army 
Group against an allocation target of 
20,000, although the Communications 
Zone began to lay down increasing ton- 
nages in the Advance Section. 26 

By this time, SHAEF Logistical Plans 
Branch completed its allocations study 
for the period 19 November-2 Decem- 
ber, for the first time including all three 
army groups in its survey. By the end 
of that period 12th Army Group was 
expected to have a strength of thirty di- 
visions, 27 and the 6th Army Group a 
strength of sixteen. 28 Operational plans 
for U.S. forces called for continued at- 
tacks eastward, the Ninth, First, and 

28 Delivery statistics are from COMZ G-4 Weekly 
Reports on Status of Supply, from Stratton to 12 A 
Gp G-4, 12 A Gp 400.291 Supply Information; 
ADSEC Operations History, App. D; and TWXs, 
Lee to SHAEF, reporting on movements to armies 
and Ninth Air Force, SHAEF G-4 563.59 Tonnages 
and Estimates of, I, 44, and are not always in exact 

27 Including one at Lorient. 

M 2i Army Group's strength was to remain un- 
changed at eighteen and one-third divisions. 

Seventh Armies pushing toward the 
Rhine, and the Third aiming at capture 
of the Saar. Tactical priorities went to 
the operations of the First and Ninth 
Armies, then to Third U.S. and Second 
British Armies, and then to the First 
Canadian. Tonnage bids for the period 
totaled 30,000 for the 12th Army Group 
and 1 1,660 tons for the 6th Army Group, 
including requirements for supporting 
air units. After an analysis of the bids 
the SHAEF planners again concluded 
that cuts could be made— the 12th Army 
Group's combined bid from 30,000 to 
26,300 and the 6th Army Groups from 
11,660 to 11,450. Requirements for the 
Advance Section brought the total for- 
ward needs on the central (12th Army 
Group) line of communications to about 
30,000 tons. 29 

The Communications Zone estimated 
its delivery capabilities for this period 
at 22,200 tons per day, a figure which 
the SHAEF planners now considered 
conservative. Several factors, including 
the opening of the Seine for the clear- 
ance of Rouen, the reduction of British 
rail traffic from the rear maintenance 
area, the increased availability of POL 
at Rouen, the general improvement in 
rail transportation, and the expectation 
that Antwerp would soon open, led them 
to raise the COMZ estimate to 24,400 
tons. Even assuming that deliveries could 
reach this figure there would be a deficit 
of about 5,000 tons. The Southern Line 
of Communications, on the other hand, 
estimated its capacity as 12,500 tons, 
giving it a surplus of about 1,000. 

SHAEF planners recommended that 

20 The total requirements of the three army 
groups, as approved by the planners, came close to 
60,000 tons per day. 



the Communications Zone be given a 
first priority mission to deliver 21,000 
tons per day to the army service areas of 
the 12th Army Group and the Ninth Air 
Force (respectively 17,500 and 3,500). 
ADSEC requirements were not included 
in these figures. The current allocation 
already gave 80 percent (about 500 tons) 
of the available airlift to 12th Army 
Group and the remainder to the 2 1 Army 
Group, and the planners recommended 
that this apportionment be continued. 
Since operational priority was to shift 
to the 12th Army Group in the next allo- 
cations period, they also proposed that 
General Bradley's forces be favored to 
whatever extent was possible in the allo- 
cation of transportation facilities on the 
neighboring lines of communications. 
They accordingly recommended that in 
the allocation of railway facilities the 
necessary priority be given the Commu- 
nications Zone for clearing Antwerp and 
that the forward movement of reserves 
planned by the 21 Army Group be post- 
poned. If practicable, the Communica- 
tions Zone was to begin the delivery of 
at least 1,000 tons per day to the Third 
Army or Advance Section via the south- 
ern lines. 30 The G-4 and CAO both ap- 
proved the recommendations, and the 
new allocations went into effect as 
planned. 31 
A third allocation prepared at the end 

30 SHAEF Tonnage Alloc 2, to cover period 19 
Nov-2 Dec, SHAEF G-4 Log Plans Br, 12 Nov 44, 
SHAEF G-4 563.59 Tonnages and Estimates of, I, 

31 Ltr, Crawford to CofS, 12 Nov 44, sub: Ton- 
nage Allocs, 19 Nov-2 Dec, SHAEF SGS 400.3/1 
Supply Problems of Allied Advance; TWX S- 
66813, SHAEF G-4 to Major Comds, 15 Nov 44, 
SHAEF G-4 563.59 Tonnages and Estimates of, I, 

of November and covering the period 
3-16 December, did not differ substan- 
tially from the second. Operational plans 
again gave priority to the 12th Army 
Group, which was scheduled to have a 
strength of thirty-two divisions by mid- 
December. The army group's bid was 
not quite as high for the next two-week 
period, possibly reflecting a shade greater 
confidence in the Communications 
Zone's ability to fulfill its promises, but 
the SHAEF planners again reduced the 
requests— from 25,000 to 18,700 in the 
case of 12th Army Group, and from 10,- 
200 to 8,300 in the case of 6th. The Ad- 
vance Section was allowed 3,600 tons. The 
Communications Zone's prediction that 
it could deliver 24,000 tons per day was 
accepted as a reasonable estimate. The 
SOLOC had not met its earlier target, 
however, owing partly to the fact that 
many trains carried bulky Class IV sup- 
plies and equipment for the Rhine cross- 
ings, some of them averaging only 250 
tons. Its estimate of 12,500 was reduced 
to 10,000. In any event, it appeared that 
all three lines of communications for 
the first time would easily meet the ap- 
proved requirements of their army 
groups, including the associated air forces 
and advance sections. In fact, the plan- 
ners foresaw a surplus of about 5,400 
tons per day, and recommended that it 
be allocated to the two advance sections 
for the build-up of additional reserves 
behind the respective army groups which 
they supported. General Crawford ap- 
proved the recommendations, setting a 
first priority commitment to the Com- 
munications Zone to deliver 20,000 tons 
per day to the army service areas of the 
12 th Army Group— 15,400 and 4,600 tons 



respectively for the ground forces and 
the Ninth Air Force. 32 

The third allocation never ran its full 
course. Within a week the entire ration- 
ing system, under attack from several 
quarters and rendered largely unneces- 
sary by the general improvement of sup- 
ply, was discontinued. The black cloud 
which had hung depressingly over the 
logistic horizon since mid-September had 
actually begun to lift at the end of Octo- 
ber, at the very time that logistic plan- 
ners were determining how the meager 
resources should be apportioned. Total 
forward deliveries did not match the 
Communications Zone's predictions, nor 
were the gains necessarily reflected in 
the receipts in the army areas. In the last 
ten days of October, in fact, the Com- 
munications Zone claimed daily deliver- 
ies of only about 10,000 tons to the arm- 
ies in 12th Army Group, and something 
less than 1,000 tons to the Ninth Air 
Force. 33 Even with these tonnages the 
armies managed to improve their reserve 
positions. October was a quiet month 
operationally, and by stringent control 
over expenditures the armies were able 
to accumulate savings. By the end of the 
month stocks in the combat zone of the 
12th Army Group totaled more than 
155,000 tons. 34 In some categories, such 

32 SHAEF Tonnage Alloc 3, to cover period 3—16 
Dec, Log Plans Br G-4, 25 Nov 44, Ltr, Crawford 
to CofS, 27 Nov 44, sub: Tonnage Allocs, and TWX 
S-68947, SHAEF G-4 to Major Comds, 30 Nov 44, 
all in SHAEF G-4 563.59 Tonnages and Estimates 
of, I, 44. See also allocations papers in SHAEF AG 
400.22-1. No. 2 Shipments and Tonnages Alloca- 
tions 1944, and in 12 A Gp Tonnages 137. 

33 See Weekly Reports of COMZ G-4, sub: Supply 
Info, 12 A Gp 400.291 Supply Information II, and 
ADSEC Operations History, App. D. 

34 Memo, Hass, Supply Br G-4 12 A Gp, for G-4, 
30 Oct 44, sub: Tonnages in Forward Areas, 12 A 
Gp Tonnages 137. 

as Class I, levels were actually excessive, 
and the Army Group took steps to halt 
the flow into the army areas. 

The Communications Zone, mean- 
while, by mutual agreement with 12th 
Army Group began laying down a larger 
percentage of total tonnages in the Ad- 
vance Section, although this was con- 
trary to the allocations laid down by 
SHAEF. 35 By the time of the fall offen- 
sive, which began on 8 November, the 
Communications Zone was laying down 
about 8,000 tons per day in the Advance 
Section, where stocks had risen to nearly 
100,000 tons. Army reserves by that time 
totaled about 180,000, bringing the 
stocks in the forward areas to a record 
280,000 tons. 36 

A similar improvement had taken 
place on the southern lines of communi- 
cation, where forward reserves, practi- 
cally nonexistent early in October, 37 had 
risen to ten days for Classes I-IV, and to 
twenty-five days for Class V by mid- 
November. 38 

Serious shortages of many items con- 
tinued to hamper operations and to 
worry all echelons. Nevertheless, ton- 
nage movements were definitely on the 
rise, and the supply picture in both the 
6th and 12 th Army Groups was much 
brighter by mid-November. With cer- 

33 Memo, Moses for Bradley, 31 Oct 44, sub: Sup- 
ply Outlook, 12 A Gp Tonnages 137; Ltr, Whipple 
to Barriger, 11 Nov 44, sub: Comments of Col 
Wilson on Tonnage Allocs, SHAEF G-4 Tonnage 
Allocations, Log Plans Br 153/5. 

36 The sources present conflicting statistics. See 
Memo, Hass for Moses, 5 Nov 44, sub: Info on 
Supply Situation, 12 A Gp Supplies, Misc, 126; 
COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications Diary/Jnl, 
Br Chiefs Mtg, 8 Nov 44, ETO Adm 145C; and 
ADSEC Operations History, App. E, p. 3. 

37 TWX BX-17225, Devers to Eisenhower, 5 Oct 
44, SHAEF Cbl Log, Smith Papers. 

Jfi 6AGp G-4 AAR, Sep-Nov 44. 



tain exceptions, even ammunition, which 
had been at dangerously low levels 
throughout October, had become a less 
critical item of supply with the build-up 
of stocks in the Advance Section. De- 
liveries to the armies in the second allo- 
cations period— 19 November to 2 De- 
cember—averaged about 12,000 tons on 
the central line of communications and 
between 4,000 and 5,000 tons on the 
southern, and supplies continued to 
build up in the Advance Section at the 
rate of about 8,000 tons per day. 

The general improvement brought 
with it a natural desire to return to nor- 
mal supply procedures. The allocations 
system was inflexible and restrictive at 
best, and subject to abuse. So long as 
supply deliveries were characterized by 
uncertainty it was natural for the armies 
to seek whatever security they could in 
hoarding and in requisitioning beyond 
their actual needs. As long as all avail- 
able tonnage was allocated, the Commu- 
nications Zone lacked control over the 
flow of supplies, particularly as to the 
establishment of balanced stocks in the 
forward areas. Moreover, the system did 
not ensure that the armies would actu- 
ally receive the items they most needed, 
for it tended to give an exaggerated and 
even harmful emphasis to over-all ton- 
nages rather than items of supply, result- 
ing in the delivery of supplies for which 
there was no immediate need, and in 
the accumulation of unfilled requisitions 
for thousands of tons of items on the 
critical list. 39 

w Ltr, Whipple to Barriger, 11 Nov 44, sub: Com- 
ments of Col Wilson on Tonnage Allocs, SHAEF 
G-4 Tonnage Allocations, Log Plan Br 153/5; Me- 
chanics of Supply in Fast Moving Situations, Gen 
Bd Rpt 27, pp. 80-81. 

The fact that the armies could set 
aside supplies as reserves at a time when 
deliveries to their service areas aver- 
aged only 11,000 tons against stated 
requirements for 25,000 to 28,000 bore 
out the suspicion that they had been 
overzealous in their requisitioning. First 
Army, in particular, was suspected of tak- 
ing for granted the advantage in supply 
which it had enjoyed, first in its prepa- 
rations for the Normandy landings, and 
later in connection with its operational 
priority, and had acquired a reputation 
for * asking for the moon." Lack of con- 
fidence in the Communications Zone's 
ability to meet its requirements undoubt- 
edly accounted for the heavy demands. 
On the other hand, it was hardly surpris- 
ing that the Communications Zone 
should question the dire urgency of army 
demands which listed as "critically short" 
such items as barber kits and handker- 
chiefs. Nor was mutual trust likely to be 
promoted by the attitude expressed in 
one of First Army's G-4 periodic reports, 
which noted, "The operation will be a 
success providing the Communications 
Zone has the ability and is willing to 
support the combat forces.*' 40 The 
Third Army, accustomed from the be- 
ginning to operating on a shoestring, ac- 
cepted the hardships of the fall months 
with more equanimity, sometimes even 
failing to ask for enough. The Ninth 
Army, a late-comer arriving in the midst 
of scarcity, had a reputation for consist- 
ently professional staff work where sup- 
ply was concerned, and could usually 

w COMZ G-4 History, II, 19. (Italics are the 



be counted on to limit its requests to 
actual needs. 41 

At any rate, by late November the 
Communications Zone was demonstrat- 
ing its ability to deliver supplies to the 
combat zone in considerably greater vol- 
ume than was required for maintenance 
alone. The allocations system had there- 
fore served its purpose, and both the 
Communications Zone and 12th Army 
Group began to urge its early abandon- 
ment, for there was every prospect now 
of meeting a larger and larger percent- 
age of the armies' requests directly from 
ADSEC depots, resulting in a greater 
flexibility, more rapid response to army 
demands, and a greater ease in main- 
taining balanced reserves. The re-estab- 
lishment of forward reserves, although 
they still lacked many of the items the 
armies needed, was an especially signifi- 
cant development, for it presaged the 
return to a more conventional supply 
procedure, in which the Advance Sec- 
tion might once again become the sole 
agency through which the armies ar- 
ranged for their day-to-day needs, thus 
obviating their repeated reaching back 
to the base areas for supplies. There was 
every reason to believe, moreover, that 
the discovery by the armies that they 
could count on having their needs 
promptly met would remove the desire 
to establish excessive stocks in their 
own areas. This improvement in reserves 
consequently constituted an important 
milestone in the road to recovery. 

The developments of November had 
thus opened the way for ending alloca- 
tions. In fact, 12 th Army Group had 
already removed Classes I and V from 

41 Interv with Moses, 13 Aug 51, and Plank, 28 
Jul 50. 

its suballocations to the armies before 
the end of the month. 42 Finally, SHAEF 
discontinued all allocations on 9 De- 
cember, bringing to an official end the 
long famine which had set in during 
the pursuit. 43 By that date the stocks of 
Class I, III, and V supplies alone had 
risen to 222,000 tons in the Advance 
Section, and the levels in the army areas 
were also very satisfactory. First Army 
actually asked the Communications Zone 
to stop shipping gasoline and Third 
Army even turned back one million 
gallons. 44 Within another week stocks in 
the Advance Section had risen to 294,- 
400 tons, and in the combat zone of the 
12th Army Group to 222,000, bringing 
the reserves in the forward areas of the 
central line of communications to well 
over 500,000 tons. 45 

Improvements on the southern line 
of communications were less spectacular, 
but stocks had risen sharply by mid- 
December— to 53,000 tons in the Con- 
tinental Advance Section and to 80,000 
in the Seventh Army area, reaching levels 
in the army area in excess of authorized 
reserves in all classes except POL. 46 

42 12 A Gp G-4 AAR 4 (Nov 44), 12 A Gp 107A 
Reports, General Information. 

43 Memo, Col James W. Younger, 12 A Gp QM, 
for G-4, 20 Nov 44, sub: Turnover of Army Ton- 
nages to COMZ, 12 A Gp Tonnages 137; 12 A Gp 
G-4 AAR for Nov 44; TWX S-70142, SHAEF to 
Major Comds, 9 Dec 44, SHAEF AG 400.22-1, No. 2, 
Shipments and Tonnage Allocations 1944. 

44 Comd and Stf Conf, 8 Dec 44, SHAEF G-4 337. 
48 ADSEC figures are from ADSEC Operations 

History, App. 4, army group figures from Informa- 
tion on Supply Situation Rpt 11, 18 Dec 44, Supply 
Br G-4 12 A Gp, 12 A Gp Supply— Reports of 
Status of, No. 131. There are some discrepancies. 

46 Ltr, Col Carter Page, Plans Br G-4 SOLOC, 
to CG SOLOC, 20 Dec 44, sub: Estimate of Supply 
Situation (Rpt 2), SHAEF G-4 319.1 Supply Status 
(SOLOC), I, 1945. 



(2) The Ardennes Counter offensive and 
Its Effect on Movements 

It is typical of logistic operations that 
the solution of one problem often creates 
a new one. The acceleration in forward 
deliveries soon brought a new limiting 
factor into play— the inability of the de- 
pots to unload, classify, and store the 
huge tonnages which were being for- 
warded in bulk. The result, as already 
noted, was a serious congestion on the 
rail lines in the forward areas, thousands 
of loaded cars piling up. 47 The Commu- 
nications Zone had just begun to give 
serious attention to this problem when 
the German counteroffensive struck on 
16 December, endangering the huge 
stocks which had been built up in the 
forward areas. 

The German offensive had particularly 
serious implications for the logistical sup- 
port of U.S. forces in the north, for it 
threatened to cut directly across the 
lines of communications based on the 
port of Antwerp, which had just been 
brought into operation. In most imme- 
diate danger, of course, were the supply 
points and depots in the area of the 
First Army. But most of the ADSEC lo- 
gistic structure backing up the First and 
Ninth Armies also lay directly in the 
path of the German drive, heavily con- 
centrated along the Meuse between 
Liege and Namur and extending west- 
ward to CharleroL An advance to the 
Meuse alone promised to overrun many 
army and ADSEC depots and place most 
installations north of the river within 
the reach of enemy artillery; an advance 
beyond the Meuse would threaten to cut 

4T See above, Ch. V, Sec. 2. 

rail lines from the south or the lines of 
communications based on Antwerp, in 
either case making it virtually impossible 
to support the First and Ninth Armies 
in combat. 48 

The immediate danger to forward sup- 
ply installations made it imperative that 
the First Army service area be moved 
out of reach of the enemy, north and 
west of the Meuse. This involved super- 
imposing army installations on the al- 
ready congested area of the Advance Sec- 
tion and a general telescoping of supply 
operations. It posed a special dilemma 
because of the unusual character of the 
logistic structure in the north. As pre- 
viously observed, the U.S. communica- 
tions zone lacked storage facilities at Ant- 
werp except for small amounts for in- 
transit purposes. U.S. supplies conse- 
quently had to be shipped in bulk to 
installations in the vicinity of Liege and 
Namur, where the Advance Section was 
forced to improvise base depot opera- 
tions as best it could to handle bulk 
cargo and at the same time conduct 
retail issues to meet the day-to-day needs 
of the armies. Superimposing the First 
Army's service installations on this al- 
ready cramped area was certain to ag- 
gravate the existing congestion. On top 
of this, First Army now presented the 
Advance Section with a formidable list 
of major combat equipment losses which 
required immediate replacement. In the 
face of these demands it was clear that 
the continued large-scale shipment of 
supplies in bulk from Antwerp would 
place an unbearable burden on the Ad- 

4S Ltr, Whipple to G-4 SHAEF, 28 Dec 44, sub: 
Logistical Support 06 U.S. First and Ninth Armies, 
SHAEF G_4 400 Supplies General, V. 



vance Section and threaten orderly sup- 
ply operations. 

The obvious key to the situation ,was 
the acquisition of depot space in the vi- 
cinity of Antwerp which would relieve 
some of the pressure building up from 
the forward areas. The assignment of 
such space to U.S. forces had been dis- 
cussed as early as October, when Ameri- 
can and British staffs agreed on the ap- 
portionment of Antwerp's facilities. Brit- 
ish officials had been unwilling to release 
accommodations to U.S. forces in the 
north, in part because they considered 
facilities in that area vital to their own 
operations, in part because the estab- 
lishment of U.S. depots there would 
further contravene the principle of keep- 
ing national lines of communications 
separate. The Advance Section there- 
after had repeatedly tried to convince 
the Communications Zone of the dan- 
gers inherent in the situation, but the 
Communications Zone had not pressed 
the matter. 

The counteroffensive of December fi- 
nally forced the issue. Late in the month 
SHAEF ordered 21 Army Group and the 
Communications Zone to provide depot 
space for U.S. forces in areas that could 
be defended in the event of a further 
enemy thrust. Although 21 Army Group 
still opposed the move, British officials 
at SHAEF admitted the necessity of re- 
lieving the pressure on Antwerp and 
agreed to permit U.S. forces to establish 
depots in several locations which the 
Communications Zone had already re- 
connoitered. On 4 January 1945 2 1 Army 
Group agreed to turn over space in the 
Lille-Tournai area. While the facilities 
did not come into use until after the 
danger from the counteroffensive had 

passed, they were necessary in any event 
for the organization of a supply system 
in proper depth. 49 

In the meantime certain "immediate 
action" steps had been taken to provide 
prompt relief of congestion in the for- 
ward areas. The Advance Section, by 
agreement with First Army, at once re- 
duced forward deliveries of major main- 
tenance items, and the army began to 
sustain itself by drawing on its reserves. 
On 19 December the Communications 
Zone in turn placed a temporary em- 
bargo on all shipments of other than 
Class II and IV supplies to the Advance 
Section in order to facilitate the evacua- 
tion of First Army supplies via Liege in 
case that became necessary. Ammunition 
moving forward from Cherbourg, for 
example, was halted at Soissons; POL 
shipments out of Antwerp were routed 
to Charleroi; rations consigned to Liege 
and Luxembourg were redirected to 
Charleroi and Verdun respectively. 50 

Meanwhile First Army supply chiefs 
placed in operation a plan to move all 
major army service installations to the 
west of the Meuse. On 18 December the 
25th Regulating Station withdrew from 
Spa and a detachment at Liege took di- 
rect control of the evacuation of First 
Army's supplies, reversing the entire sup- 

*»Ibid.; Cbl 8-73064, SHAEF to 21 A Gp and 
COMZ, 30 Dec 44, Cbl EX-80904, COMZ to SHAEF, 
31 Dec 44, and Cbl EX-61864, COMZ to Channel 
Base Sec, 4 Jan 45, all in SHAEF G-4 Maintenance 
of British and U.S. Forces, 153/2/GDP-1; Col Wil- 
liam Whipple, "Logistical Problems During the 
German Ardennes Offensive/* Military Review, 
XXVIII (May, 1948), 19, 23; ADSEC Operations 
History, pp. 105-06; Notes on Mtg at SHAEF at- 
tended by Gale, Lord, Crawford, el al., 3 Jan 45, 
SHAEF CAO War Diary. 

5n COMZ G-4 History, II, 78-79. 



ply procedure by directing empty cars 
into forward railheads and expediting 
the loading and evacuation of supplies 
to depots west of the Meuse. In the next 
week approximately 5,600 carloads of 
supplies were removed to safer locations. 
In addition, First Army used 37 truck 
companies in constant supply and troop 
movements, clearing 196 convoys in the 
redeployment of nearly 250,000 men. 

The evacuation of supplies got under 
way when the army began emptying two 
of its largest POL depots near Malmedy. 
directly in the path of the German drive. 
The evacuation of one depot, containing 
about 1,115,000 gallons of MT80 gaso- 
line and allied products, began on 17 
December. Within forty-eight hours all 
stocks had been removed except for 
124,000 gallons, which were destroyed 
by burning. On two occasions during the 
evacuation reconnaissance elements of a 
German panzer division advanced to 
within 1,000 yards of the depot. A second 
installation, containing 2,226,000 gallons, 
was evacuated beginning on the night 
of the 18th and was completely cleared 
without loss by the morning of the 2 2d. 51 

In a few cases losses could not be pre- 
vented. Two ammunition supply points, 
one holding 2,000 tons of ammunition 
and the other about 800 tons, were even- 
tually overrun, although U.S. troops con- 
tinued to draw on one of them after the 
enemy had already reached the opposite 
end of the dump. One Class I truckhead 
issued rations for three days under 
sporadic mortar and small arms fire, was 
abandoned, retaken, and drawn down, 

51 Hist Rpt, 25th Regulating Station, 5 Feb 44-12 
May 45; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, 
Rk. I, p. 128, Bk. II, p. lao, and Bk. Ill, p. 60. 

and the remaining supplies were then 
burned. 52 The Advance Section evacu- 
ated some supplies, and lost about 2,700 
tons, largely through destruction by V-i 
attacks, which forced the abandonment 
of several installations. 53 

The Advance Section was responsible 
for the support of Third Army as well 
as the First and Ninth, and the enemy 
thrust into Belgium cut the direct wire 
communications between Namur and 
the Verdun-Luxembourg area. Fortu- 
nately the ADSEC supply complex in 
the south, centering at Verdun, for some 
time had been operating fairly independ- 
ently of that in the north. The resulting 
flexibility in the ADSEC organization, 
plus good working relationships with the 
12th Army Group and Third Army 
G-4's, permitted this partially truncated 
portion of the Advance Section to carry 
out its mission during this critical period 
without direct wire communications with 
the main ADSEC headquarters in the 
north and without changes in control 
or responsibility. 54 

Third Army's supply installations had 
not been endangered, since the German 
counteroffensive was directed away from 
the Verdun concentration, and Third 
Army was now assigned a major role in 
countering the enemy threat. On 18 
December General Patton was ordered 
to turn over his right flank corps to the 
Seventh Army, and to reorient the Third 
Army's operations from the east to the 
north. He was also required to take over 
the VIII Corps, which could no longer 

S2 FUSA Rpt of Opns, Bk. II, pp. 120-21, 123, 
and Bk. IV, p. 5. 

53 ADSEC Operational History, p. in. 
51 Whipple, op, cit. } p. 21. 



be supported or controlled by the First 
Army as a result of the enemy break- 
through. Third Army thereupon initi- 
ated a wholesale redeployment of both 
combat and service units, a task which 
called for the closest co-ordination of 
movements and the efficient use of trans- 
port. Within three days of the order 
Third Army had turned over twenty- 
five miles of front to the Seventh Army, 
withdrawn two corps, and completed ad- 
ministrative preparations for an offensive 
on the new axis, an accomplishment 
which Colonel Whipple, chief logistical 
planner at SHAEF, characterized as one 
of the most professional performances 
of the entire war, easily ranking with 
the more spectacular accomplishments of 
the preceding August. New supply in- 
stallations were opened in the general 
vicinity of Luxembourg City, Longwy, 
and Esch. In an attempt to re-equip 
units of the VIII Corps which had lost 
heavily in the initial enemy onslaught 
Third Army exhausted its reserves of 
many items. 55 

Ninth Army supply installations were 
not immediately endangered by the coun- 
teroffensive, but the army made prepa- 
rations to evacuate or destroy about 100,- 
ooo tons of supplies and equipment. As 
in First Army, deliveries were immedi- 
ately halted, and levels in the forward 
areas were reduced by issue. 56 

Both the Communications Zone and 
SHAEF were concerned with the secur- 

ity of areas other than those under im- 
minent danger of German attack, and 
the planning staffs of both headquarters 
immediately studied the possible effects 
which the offensive might have on the 
logistic structure as a whole. The Ant- 
werp base and its line of communica- 
tions to Liege naturally ranked high in 
importance because of their role in the 
support of U.S. forces in Holland and 
Belgium. Next in importance were the 
adjacent depot concentrations and com- 
munications networks, such as Ostend- 
Ghent with its POL facilities; the Valen- 
ciennes-Mons-Charleroi area with its 
POL depots and coal mines; Soissons, 
Reims, and Verdun with their large am- 
munition stocks; and the rail net north 
and east of the Seine. General Lee im- 
mediately ordered special defense meas- 
ures for all vital COMZ installations and 
for rail bridges, denies, and tunnels, and 
the chief engineer issued detailed in- 
structions on security measures, includ- 
ing demolitions, for POL discharge fa- 
cilities, pipelines, pumping stations, and 
tank farms. 57 

While the Ardennes counteroffensive 
never achieved sufficient success to en- 
danger COMZ rear installations seri- 
ously, its effect was nevertheless felt in 
various ways. Embargoes on forward 
movements and the immobilization of 
rail cars soon resulted in backlogs in the 
ports. At Le Havre, for example, cargo 
held in in transit storage increased by 

25 Whipple, op. cit., p. 24; TUSA AAR, II, G-4, 
37-40, and II, Arty, 17; Memo, Barriger for Moses, 
27 Dec 44, sub: Forward Reserves, 12 A Gp Sup- 
plies, Misc, 126. 

56 Conquer: The Story of Ninth Army, 1944-45, 
pp. 121-22. 

"TWX EX-76867, Lee to Sec Comdrs, 21 Dec 
44, and TWX EX-78041, Lee to Sec Comdrs, 23 
Dec 44, SHAEF AG 370.2 Overlord, 1945; Note by 
Ping Stf G-3 SHAEF, 23 Dec 44, sub: Counter- 
offensive Measures (Final Draft), SHAEF G-3 
18008/Pkms, 1944; COMZ G-4 History, II, 71. 

Supply Trucks Passing Through Bastogne, Belgium, January 1945. 



133 percent by the first week in January, 
with the result that the port failed to 
meet its discharge goals. At Antwerp 
tonnages held at the port increased by 
78 percent. Some installations came un- 
der attack from the air, notably in the 
Advance Section, where rail lines and 
supply depots were subjected to heavy 
attacks, particularly by V-i's. 58 On the 
whole, however, supply operations were 
not seriously disrupted, and the Commu- 
nications Zone met the emergency de- 
mands well, marshaling transportation 
for evacuation and troop movements, 
and handling many special shipments via 
rail, truck, and air, some to meet replace- 
ment needs resulting from heavy losses 
suffered by units which bore the brunt 
of the attack, some to meet the sudden 
demands for defense materials, such as 
wire and mines. 

The partial embargo on forward ship- 
ments imposed at the beginning of the 
Ardennes battle naturally caused deliv- 
eries to the forward areas to fall off some 
in the week of 17-23 December. But 
deliveries were normal again by the last 
week of December, and in January aver- 
aged about 15,000 tons per day on the 
northern line of communications. 59 

In the south, as in the north, a con- 
gestion of rail cars had developed in 
the forward areas early in December, 
caused in part by hazardous winter op- 
erating conditions. In an effort to reduce 
the backlog SOLOC early in January 
instructed Delta Base Section to reduce 
the tonnage allocation to Continental 

B8 COMZ G-4 History, H, 66, 68. 

59 ADSEC Operations History, App. D; COMZ 
G-4 Weekly Reports on Status of Supply, 12 A Gp 
400.291 Supply Information. 

Advance Section by 25 percent. Forward 
reserves reached dangerously low levels 
during the month. By early February, 
however, partly as the result of better 
operating conditions and partly through 
the special trucking operation described 
in the preceding section, deliveries were 
reaching record totals. 60 

The oft-repeated hope of providing lo- 
gistic support for the 12th Army Group 
via the southern line of communications 
was never fully realized, at least not as 
originally envisioned. SOLOC's "sur- 
plus" consisted almost exclusively of port 
discharge capacity; the shortage of trans- 
portation was as persistent a limiting 
factor in the south as in the north, and 
precluded the shipment of supplies in 
large volume over the Rhone line of 
communications for U.S. forces in the 
north. SOLOC provided substantial as- 
sistance, but it took the form mainly of 
direct logistic support, initially of units 
transferred from the 12 th to the 6th 
Army Group— as, for example, the XV 
Corps, which was shifted at the end of 
September— and later of additional divi- 
sions brought in via Marseille rather 
than the northern ports as originally 
intended. A shortage of service troops in 
the south eventually limited the extent 
to which SOLOC could assume supply 
responsibility for additional combat 
forces. Meanwhile, advantage was taken 
of the surplus port capacity in the south 
to bring in vehicles, which were assem- 
bled at Marseille and then driven north 
with gasoline and other supplies which 

06 SOLOC Supply Situation Rpt 3 (dated 3 Jan 
45) and 4 (dated 18 Jan 45), SHAEF G-4 319.1 
Supply Status (SOLOC), I 1945. 



had also been discharged at Marseille 
for that specific purpose. 61 

The record of forward deliveries 
echoes the story of transportation diffi- 
culties told in Chapter V. The frustrat- 
ingly restrictive rationing system which 
the transport deficiency imposed in the 
form of tonnage allocations obviously 
pleased no one. The solution of the prob- 

61 See below, Ch. X, Sec. 1, for a discussion of the 
troop build-up via SOLOC. History of SOLOC, MS, 
II, QM, p. 3, and II, TC, p. 15; TWX BX-17993, 
6 A Gp to COMZ, 17 Oct 44, SHAEF SGS 400.3/1 
Supply Problems of Allied Advance; Memo, G-4 
6 A Gp for Current Opns Br G-4, 27 Oct 44, sub: 
Mov From Southern France of 1,000 Tons Per Day 
to Third Army, 6 A Gp G-4 Transportation Sec- 
tion General, I; Ltr (draft), Lord to Larkin, 23 
Nov 44, EUCOM 560 AT, Transport, Vessels, and 
Boats in General, II. 

lem suddenly demonstrated how the 
elimination of one limiting factor could 
create a new one and, incidentally, high- 
lighted another basic deficiency in the 
theater's logistic structure— the lack of 
intermediate depots. Finally, the coun- 
teroffensive of December demonstrated 
with dramatic force the reverberating 
effect which a major tactical event could 
have on movements within the entire 
logistic organization. 

Not all the supply shortages which de- 
veloped in the fall of 1944 can be attrib- 
uted to the transportation problem; 
many in fact persisted well beyond the 
period of transport difficulties. What 
some of these shortages were and how 
they affected operations is described in 
the next three chapters. 


Supplying the Armies: 
Rations, POL, and Coal 

(i) Rations 

Not all the supply shortages which 
hampered operations in the fall of 1944 
can be attributed to the inadequacy of 
transportation. Some developed as the 
result of higher loss or expenditure rates 
than had been expected, and some re- 
flected production difficulties at the very 
source— that is, the zone of interior. 
There were some items in which the 
shortages were never critical in the sense 
of jeopardizing the success of combat 
operations. Among the supplies in this 
category were rations. 

Ration levels in the combat zone 
reached their lowest point in the second 
week of September, when First Army 
reported one and one-half days of supply 
on hand and the Third Army less than 
one. 1 Both armies staved off total deple- 
tion of their reserves only by using cap- 
tured supplies. In a few cases German 
rations were a welcome relief from the 
monotony of the operational rations on 
which the combat forces had subsisted 

1 FUSA and TUSA G-4 Periodic Rpts for Period 
10-16 Sep 44, 12 A Gp 319.1 G-4 Reports. 

during most of the pursuit. Third Army 
had already captured some enemy stocks, 
including flour for bread, at Chalons 
and near Reims in the last days of Aug- 
ust. On 9 September it made another 
welcome addition to its diet by the sei- 
zure of 1,300 tons of frozen beef and 250 
tons of canned beef in refrigerated stor- 
age at Homecourt, northwest of Metz. A 
few days later First Army made a smaller 
haul of fresh beef in a plant at Namur. 2 
Ration stocks in both the combat zone 
and the Advance Section remained far 
below authorized levels throughout Sep- 
tember and early October. Stocks in the 
Communications Zone had been main- 
tained at a fairly satisfactory level, al- 
though the bulk of them had remained 
in the port and beach areas. In mid- 
October the Communications Zone held 
18.6 days of supply, but there was some 
concern as to whether it could maintain 
that level because of the emphasis which 
was then being given to the offloading of 
the more critically short ammunition. 3 
COMZ levels did recede somewhat in 

2 TUSA AAR, II, QM, 6; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 
Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. IV, pp. 56-57. 

3 See below, Ch. IX, Sec. 1. 



the next few weeks, falling to about ten 
days of supply. Meanwhile advantage 
was taken of the general improvement 
in transportation to rebuild forward 
stocks. Reserves were rapidly rebuilt in 
all three armies of the 12 th Army Group, 
and by the first week in November actu- 
ally exceeded authorized levels, the First 
Army having built up its Class I stocks 
to the unprecedented level of nineteen 
days. At the start of the November of- 
fensive First Army had 13.4 days of sup- 
ply, Third Army 5.9, Ninth Army 9.8, 
the Advance Section 4.8, and the Com- 
munications Zone 10.6. 4 

Ration levels were always rather vola- 
tile, but with the exception of the tem- 
porary interruption during the Ardennes 
counteroffensive, when First Army re- 
duced its reserves by making large issues 
and then drawing its requirements di- 
rectly from the Liege depot, the flow of 
rations to the combat zone was relatively 
smooth after transportation had become 
adequate in November. After the Ar- 
dennes battle the policy was adopted of 
moving the maximum allowable reserves 
well forward preparatory to the resump- 
tion of the offensive. By the first week 
of February, therefore, First Army had 

4 FUSA's 134 days was based on a ration strength 
of 400,000 men and represented 11,316 tons; cor- 
responding figures for TUSA were 320,000 men and 
4,353 tons, for NUSA 234,000 men and 4,107 tons, 
for ADSEC 1,050,000 men and 16,556 tons, and for 
the Communications Zone 2,057,000 and 49,483 tons 
exclusive of about 13,000 tons of perishables. The 
ADSEC level was based on Advance Section's own 
strength plus that of the armies, and the Com- 
munications Zone's in turn on total theater 
strength, so that the combat forces were actually 
backed by additional stocks equal to the levels in 
those organizations, at this time fifteen days. 12 
A Gp G-4 Periodic Rpts, with attached 12 A Gp 
QM Rpts, 12 A Gp 319.1 G-4. 

5.9 days of supply, Third Army had 4.9, 
Ninth Army 7.9, and the Advance Sec- 
tion 15.03, the armies' stock totaling 
15,700 tons and the Advance Section's 
106,720 tons. The level in the Commu- 
nications Zone at that time stood at 23 
days and represented 289,135 tons. 5 

Aside from the tight situation in mid- 
September the main problem of Class I 
supply was one of quality rather than 
quantity. During the pursuit tactical 
conditions dictated that operational ra- 
tions—that is, C's, K's, and io-in-i's— 
would be the principal types of rations 
consumed, particularly in the combat 
zone. Consumption of operational ra- 
tions in August and September was ac- 
tually about double the rate originally 
expected. Consequently theater stocks 
were being rapidly depleted as the pur- 
suit came to an end, and the issuance of 
operational types to certain groups, such 
as prisoners of war, had to be prohibited. 
Quartermaster plans from the beginning 
had called for an early shift to nonopera- 
tional, or bulk rations— that is, the B and 
eventually the A ration. The shortage 
of operational types thus constituted an 
additional compelling reason for the 
rapid shift which the chief quartermas- 
ter ordered upon the reversion to a more 
static type of warfare in mid-September. 6 

5 Army levels were based on ration strengths of 
400,000 in First, 450,000 in Third, and 320,000 
in Ninth. The ADSEC and COM2 levels were based 
on strengths of 1,290,000 and 2,354,000 respectively. 
Total theater stocks came to 411,570 tons. 12 A Gp 
G-4 Periodic Rpts, with attached 12 A Gp QM 
Rpts, 12 A Gp 319.1 G-4. 

For the more detailed treatment of the sub- 
sistence story see Charles F. Romanus ct a/ v The 
Quartermaster Corps: Operations in the War 
Against Germany, a volume in preparation for this 



The large-scale swing to bulk rations 
highlighted a problem in distribution 
with which the theater had already had 
some experience. Delivering a balanced 
B ration, which consisted of approxi- 
mately no separate components, called 
for careful handling: alona- the entire 
supply line from New York Port to the 
using unit. Experience in July had al- 
ready revealed how the loss of one or 
more components could disrupt the bal- 
ance and create difficulties for cooks try- 
ing to follow published menus. This 
problem had been anticipated in the zone 
of interior by prestowing and commod- 
ity-loading ships with balanced blocks 
of rations. Rut the New York Port was 
not always consistent, and often made 
substitutions, particularly when the 
theater failed to submit requisitions in 
time to allow ninety days for delivery. 
Even when shipments were balanced at 
the point of origin, the effort might often 
be nullified by improper unloading or 
reloading at continental ports, by the 
breaking up of balanced trains, by pil- 
ferage, or by indiscriminate bulk ship- 
ments in the attempt to register large 
tonnage deliveries. Inderdepot shipments 
designed to marry up scattered compo- 
nents were impossible at the height of 
the transportation shortage in mid-Sep- 
tember. At one point early in October 
an embargo actually had to be placed on 
deliveries out of Le Havre so that quar- 
termaster units in Channel Base Section 
could sort ration components. By that 
time stocks had become so unbalanced 
and dispersed that it proved necessary to 
set up intermediate collecting points at 
Paris and Sommesous, where rations 
could be sorted and balanced loads asrain 

made up for delivery to the armies. 7 

Eventually the worst defects of the 
rations-handling problem were overcome 
by giving more attention to such matters 
as unloading and the make-up of trains, 
aided by the general improvement in 
transportation and the accompanying re- 
turn of emphasis on selectivity rather 
than tonnage in forward movements. 
Subsequently intermediate depots, which 
were nonexistent for several months after 
the breakout, were also established, 
where large bulk receipts could be han- 
dled. For some time, however, the im- 
balance of subsistence stocks often 
threatened to present the Quartermaster 
Corps with the paradox of scarcity in the 
midst of plenty— that is, of having ample 
Class I supplies but few rations. 

The manner in which this imbalance 
could affect the over-all ration level was 
well illustrated early in February 1945. 
At that time the theater's level of bal- 
anced rations was determined by the 
supply of coffee, of which there were 
only 7.6 days of supply on hand, al- 
though there were much higher levels of 
all other components. If coffee was dis- 
regarded sugar became the determining 
item, of which there were 19.7 days on 
hand. If both coffee and sugar were dis- 
regarded yeast became the determining 
factor, of which there were 20.7 days on 
hand, and so on. In other words, an addi- 
tional 12.1 days supply of coffee would 

7 Romanus et al., The Quartermaster Corps: Op- 
erations in the War Against Germany, MS, Ch. 
VIII, pp. 10-11, 14-30; Quartermaster Supply in 
the European Theater of Operations in World War 
II, prep by QM School, Camp Lee, Va., II, Sub- 
sistence, 24-28, MS OCMH. 



have raised the over-all level of balanced 
rations to 19.7 days and the actual num- 
ber of rations from 17,850,000 (repre- 
sented by 7.6 days) to 46,200,000 (19.7 
days); an additional day's supply each 
of coffee and sugar would have brought 
the theater level up to 20.7, represent- 
ing 48,560,000 rations. s At times this im- 
balance resulted in a drain on opera- 
tional rations, which could be ill-spared. 
During the more fluid operations be- 
ginning in mid-December operational 
rations again were in great demand, and 
the shortage caused Third Army to con- 
serve K rations for front-line troops, lim- 
iting issues to rear area units to 10 per- 
cent of the total number of operational 
rations requested. Third Army contin- 
ued to restrict issues until late in Janu- 
ary. 9 

Aside from the Ardennes interlude, 
steady progress was made during the fall 
and winter in providing bulk rations 
throughout the theater. By the end of 
January between 85 and 90 percent of 
all troops on the Continent were re- 
ceiving either the B or A ration. The 
percentages were only slightly lower in 
the combat zone. 10 

8 Daily QM Situation Rpt, 11 Feb 45, attached to 
Weekly Report on Status of Supply (COMZ), 10 
Feb 45, 12 A Gp 400.291 Supply Information. An- 
other typical example is afforded by the reduction 
of Advance Section's level of rations by four days 
at the beginning of December because of the lack 
of the salt component. 12 A Gp G-4 Periodic Rpt 
18, for Period 26 Nov-2 Dec 44. 

9 TUSA AAR, II, QM, 13-14, 17. 

10 TUSA reported 84.4 percent of its troops re- 
ceiving the A or B ration in January. FUSA's con- 
sumption figures indicate that about 86 percent 
were getting the bulk ration. TUSA AAR, II, QM, 
17; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. 
IV, pp. 1 12-13. 

As a part of the program to replace the 
operational ration with the bulk ration 
the Quartermaster Corps in the Euro- 
pean theater also attempted to provide 
perishable items, including meat, dairy 
products, and fresh vegetables and fruits, 
with the intention of eventually convert- 
ing the B ration into a type A ration. 
The chief quartermaster had approved 
plans to introduce perishables onto the 
Continent as soon as possible after the 
assault, beginning at approximately D 
plus 30 with issues to 40 percent of the 
troops, providing 50 percent of them 
with items in the third month, and 60 
percent by D plus 90. Plans called for 
all troops to receive the A ration by D 
plus 240. Deliveries were to be made 
from the United Kingdom at first, but 
the chief quartermaster hoped to have 
ocean-going reefers discharge directly on 
the Continent by the end of the second 

These plans proved far too ambitious. 
Planning for the introduction of perish- 
ables was dominated from the beginning 
by the problem of providing adequate 
cold storage. Providing perishables, like 
delivering POL via pipeline, required a 
co-operative effort. The Transportation 
Corps was to handle reefer shipments to 
the Continent and move stocks in the 
Communications Zone within the capa- 
bilities of the rail system, the Quarter- 
master Corps was to transport perishables 
in the Communications Zone and to the 
army areas in excess of rail capacities in 
refrigerated trucks, and receive, store, 
and issue them at refrigerated ware- 
houses, and the Corps of Engineers was 
to construct or rehabilitate and maintain 
static cold-storage warehouses. 



Before D Day neither the engineers, 
who had been requested to provide cold 
storage rising from 6,000 tons at D plus 
90 to 44,000 tons at D plus 240, nor 
the Transportation Corps, which was 
asked to increase coastal reefer tonnage 
and to provide refrigerated rail cars, 
road vans, and barges for supplementary 
storage, could promise to meet the chief 
quartermaster's requirements. The only 
solution to the deficit appeared to be the 
use of ocean-going shipping for supple- 
mentary storage. But permission to use 
large reefers for that purpose, repeatedly 
urged by the chief quartermaster, was 
denied by the War Department. 

In mid-July, a week after the first bulk 
rations were issued on the Continent, 
Ma]. Gen. Robert M. Littlejohn, the 
theater chief quartermaster, announced 
plans to convert the B to an A ration. At 
that time less than 1,000 tons of cold 
storage were available in Normandy. In 
any event, the breakout only a few days 
later largely canceled these plans, at least 
so far as the combat elements were con- 
cerned, for the armies quickly reverted 
to operational rations for the period of 
mobile warfare which followed. Mean- 
while, the tight supply situation forced 
plans for the construction and rehabili- 
tation of static cold-storage plants to 
give way to more urgent needs, such as 
road, railway, and bridge reconstruction; 
and the desire to have reefer rail cars 
transferred from England to France like- 
wise gave way to the need for items of 
greater tactical importance. Consequently 
the goal of providing fresh food items to 
40 percent of the theater's troops by D 
plus 60, and 60 percent by D plus 90, 
was not realized. 

Early in September refrigerated stor- 
age facilities on the Continent still to- 
taled a mere 1,400 tons against the 
original requirement of 6,000. August 
requirements had been met only by us- 
ing as a floating warehouse a 3,000-ton 
reefer loaned by the British. Despite the 
outlook during the pursuit, however, 
General Littlejohn had announced plans 
for providing the A ration to 85 percent 
of all troops on the Continent by 1 No- 
vember, and expressed the hope of pro- 
viding one pound of fresh meat and 
dairy products per man per day by Feb- 
ruary 1945. These objectives exceeded 
even the preinvasion plans, which had 
already failed to materialize. Haphazard 
distribution practices, in part the prod- 
uct of the serious reefer rail car short- 
age, continued to frustrate plans for re- 
alizing the perishables program. Again 
the chief quartermaster asked the War 
Department to permit large reefers to 
cross the Channel and discharge at con- 
tinental ports rather than in the United 
Kingdom. This request was finally grant- 
ed early in October. 

By one expedient or another, and 
through the gradual accumulation of 
transport and storage facilities, the per- 
ishables program began to improve dur- 
ing the fall. Ocean-going reefer space 
was more economically used during the 
winter months by shipping cheese and 
meat products such as smoked ham, ba- 
con, and salami in nonrefrigerated dry 
cargo space. In September cold storage 
was opened in Paris, and early in Octo- 
ber storage captured earlier at Home- 
court and Namur was turned over to the 
Advance Section. 

While the cold storage capacity still 



totaled only 23,600 tons at the end of 
January 1945, the deficit (amounting to 
37,800 tons) was partially overcome by 
the better use of distribution facilities. 
Improved unloading techniques and 
more reliable transportation schedules 
shortened the turnaround time for rail 
cars. Local procurement of fresh vege- 
tables and fruits helped relieve some of 
the burden on both transatlantic ship- 
ping and on continental storage. Finally, 
an unexpected development in the use o£ 
refrigerated vans helped mightily in off- 
setting the shortage of rail cars. Because 
the range of their efficiency was believed 
to be limited to about seventy-five miles, 
reefer vans were expected to be used 
only for short trips in delivering perish- 
ables from cold storage in forward areas 
to distribution points. Necessity eventu- 
ally caused them to be pressed into serv- 
ice for long-distance hauls, however, and 
when their operational efficiency was 
proved through continued use on long 
hauls reaching all the way back to the 
ports, the decision was made to release 
all refrigerated vans for such hauling, 
and to use open, nonrefrigerated trucks 
for the shorter runs, such as those be- 
tween Le Havre and Paris, and between 
Antwerp and Namur, But mid-Decem- 
ber deliveries had improved to the point 
where 90 percent of all troops in the 
theater were receiving perishable items. 

Unbalanced depot stocks continued to 
distort the Class I supply picture. The 
lack of only a few components, such as 
sugar, evaporated milk, or lard, often 
prevented the attainment of the desired 
levels. Nevertheless, by early 1945 dis- 
tribution of fresh meats and vegetables 
was sufficiently good to warrant a change 

in the nomenclature of the bulk ration 
from B to A. 11 

Dehydrated foods— mostly in the form 
of powdered milk, eggs, and potatoes- 
were common components of both the A 
and B field ration, facilitating distribu- 
tion and conserving shipping space for 
items which otherwise could not have 
been provided. In general, however, mess 
personnel were inadequately instructed 
in their use, and only cooks with imag- 
ination and an inclination to experiment 
discovered formulas to make them pal- 
atable. 12 

(2) POL 

Motors as well as men had huge ap- 
petites in the type of war fought in 1944. 
The supply of POL, like that of rations, 
felt the effects of the pursuit for several 
weeks after the halt in mid-September. 
In general, improvement in the supply 
of POL had to await improvement in the 
means of distribution, which meant that 
recovery was postponed until November. 

Deliveries of gasoline had risen slightly 
for a few days early in September, mak- 
ing it possible to restore unit reserves 
in some of the front-line formations. 13 
But the improvement was deceptive. By 
the third week of September the Third 
Army, struggling to enlarge its bridge- 
heads over the Moselle, reported that it 
had less than a half day of supply on 
hand and that it was reinstituting 

"Romanus et aL, Quartermaster Operations in 
the War Against Germany, Ch. VIII, pp. 20-32; 
Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, II, Subsistence, 
20-35. In January and February First Army re- 
ported that fresh meat issues averaged 1.08 meals 
per man per day. FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 
Feb 45, Bk. IV, p. 69. 

u QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 76. 

13 TUSA AAR, II, G-4, 6-7. 



rationing. 14 First Army, having just 
breached the first line of the West Wall 
defenses south of Aachen, reported that 
it had no motor gasoline at all for issues 
and that its corps and divisions had 
no fuel other than that remaining in 
the tanks of their vehicles. 15 

First Army, taking advantage of its 
higher tonnage allocation, succeeded in 
rebuilding its reserve to about seven days 
by mid-October. But Third Army aver- 
aged less than two days of supply until 
the end of October. In mid-September 
it had rationed gasoline at the rate of 
5,000 gallons per day for infantry divi- 
sions, and 25,000 gallons per day for ar- 
mored divisions. But deliveries were 
highly unpredictable and continued to 
fall short of requirements. Late in Oc- 
tober the ration was set at 6,500 gallons 
and 12,500 gallons respectively for in- 
fantry and armored divisions. Through- 
out these weeks issues within the army 
averaged only 235,000 gallons per day. 16 

The shortage of gasoline, unlike the 
situation in many other items of supply, 
had become more than a local matter and 
could not be attributed solely to the 

"FUSA G-4 Periodic Rpt for Period 17-23 Sep 
44, with attached diary, and TUSA AAR, II, G-4, 7. 

" TWX, ADSEC to ETO G-4, 22 Sep 44, SHAEF 
SGS 400.3/1 Supply Problems of Allied Advance; 
FUSA G-4 Periodic Rpt for Period 17-23 Sep 44. 
Army and army group reports of stocks on hand 
varied somewhat, apparently because of different 
methods of computing levels. The reserve in days 
of supply varied, e.g., depending on whether as- 
signed or ration strengths were used, whether re- 
quirements were computed on the basis of pounds 
per man per day or on the basis of miles per 
vehicle per day. Furthermore, levels might be ex- 
pressed separately for each petroleum product or 
for Class III as a whole. 

18 TUSA G-4 Periodic Rpts; Cbl F-1503, TUSA 
to Crawford, 24 Oct 44, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline 
and Motor Oil, I. 

shortcomings of inland transportation. 
Stocks had also declined in the base 
areas. Reserves in the Communications 
Zone, which in mid-August had stood at 
fourteen days for all troops on the Con- 
tinent, fell to about two and one-half 
days in the first week of October, caus- 
ing grave apprehension in the 12th Army 
Group because of the potential threat to 
future operations. 17 

The alarming decline in continental 
stocks, first in the combat zone and then 
in the communizations zone, resulted 
from a combination of causes, including 
increased consumption, insufficient re- 
ception and storage capacity, and diffi- 
culties in distribution. In the first two 
months of continental operations the 
consumption of POL had been at a rate 
considerably below the preinvasion plan- 
ning factor of 153 tons per division slice, 
and even in August rose to only 158.8 
tons. 18 In September, in spite of the 
slowing up of operations, consumption 
rose to an unprecedented 248.3 tons per 
slice, reflecting the maximum sustained 
demand on all line-of-communications 
transportation. 19 Consumption dropped 
back to 197.2 tons in October, and to 

17 Daily QM Situation Rpt, COMZ, 8 Oct 44, Incl 
to COMZ G-4 AVeekly Report on Status of Supply, 
7 Oct 44, 12 A Gp 400.291, Supply Information, II; 
12 A Gp G-4 Periodic Rpt for Period 8-14 Oct 44. 

18 The figure was based on an average troop 
strength of 960,000 and twenty -four division slices. 
Daily consumption averaged 3,804 tons and totaled 
117,923 tons for the entire month. Memo, Cum- 
mings for OCQM COMZ, 7 Nov 44, sub: Ping 
Estimates of POL Rqmts, U.K. and Continent, 
USFET 400.42 Petroleum, USFET Petroleum Office. 

19 This was based on an average strength of 
1,250,000 and 31.25 slices. Daily consumption aver- 
aged 7,758 tons and totaled 232,728 tons for the 
month. Memo, Cummings for OCQM COMZ, 7 
Nov 44. 



164.2 by December. 20 Before these fig- 
ures were available, however, Col. Elmer 
E. Barnes, the chief petroleum officer 
of the theater, on the assumption that 
September conditions would prevail for 
several months, recommended a substan- 
tial upward revision of the planning fac- 

Late in November the theater began 
requisitioning its future needs on the 
basis of a new factor of 217 tons per 
division slice. 21 Revisions in the percent- 
age breakdown of the various POL prod- 
ucts were made at the same time. Pre- 
invasion estimates had provided that 79 
percent of the total POL tonnages should 
consist of MT80 gasoline (80-octane mo- 
tor vehicle type). The experience of the 
first few months showed that motor trans- 
port gasoline accounted for fully 90 per- 
cent of all POL products consumed. The 
November revisions compromised with 
this statistic and raised the percentage of 
MT80 to 85. 

While the consumption of gasoline in 
September, when it averaged 6,500 tons 
per day, proved abnormally high in terms 
of the number of divisions employed, 
there was not likely to be any reduction 
in the total tonnages required in suc- 
ceeding months in view of the steady 
build-up. The fact that 90 rather than 

30 Romanus et aL, Quartermaster Operations in 
the War Against Germany, p. 104; Min, Mtg, 
American Petroleum Products Coram, London, 30 
Jan 45, dated 2 Feb 45, EUCOM 337 Confs General, 
HI, 44- 

M This was later reduced to 192 tons on the basis 
of data which included the fall and winter months. 
QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 152; Memo, 
Barnes for OCQM, 26 Oct 44, sub: Supply of 
MT80 and Derivatives to Far Shore, and Memo, 
Cummings for OCQM, 7 Nov 44, sub: Ping Esti- 
mates of POL Rqmts, USFET 400.12 Petroleum. 

79 percent of all POL would have to 
consist of MT80 gasoline alone made it 
certain that requirements would exceed 
the original estimates. In October the 
Communications Zone estimated that 
8,600 tons of motor transport gasoline 
would be needed every day. 22 

Neither the distribution nor the recep- 
tion facilities of late September offered 
any prospects of handling such tonnages. 
In mid-September the Major Pipeline 
System was still far from adequate to 
move bulk POL requirements forward. 
At that time the most advanced of the 
three pipelines was still twenty miles 
short of the Seine and was dispensing at 
Chartres; a second line was dispensing 
at Domfront; the third (for aviation gas- 
oline) had reached Alen^on. Further 
construction had been suspended tem- 
porarily, and the rail tonnage required 
for the movement of pipe and other con- 
struction materials was sacrificed to more 
urgent supply movements. This decision 
was almost immediately reconsidered, 
and two daily trains were allotted for 
the movement of construction materials 
so that the pipelines could be extended 
to Coubert, about ten miles beyond the 
Seine, where tank storage was available. 

Progress thereafter was slow. One 6- 
inch line reached Coubert early in Octo- 
ber, but the other two lines were not 
completed to that point until December. 
Plans to extend the Major System to 
Metz, and eventually to Mainz, did not 
begin to materialize until late in Janu- 
ary 1945, when construction eastward 
toward Chalons-sur-Marne was finally 

M Ltr, Hq COMZ to CGs Base Sec, 26 Oct 44, 
sub: Forward Shipments of MT80 Gasoline, ADSEG 
463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil. 



Portion of the Major Pipeline passing over an improvised trestle bridge. 

undertaken. Coubert consequently re- 
mained the easternmost terminus of the 
Major System through most of the win- 
ter. Completion of the three lines to 
that point gave the Major System a total 
of 850 miles of pipeline. The Major 
and Minor Systems combined consisted 
of 950 miles of pipeline and 850,500 bar- 
rels of storage. 23 

An important change had meanwhile 
been made in the operational control of 
the pipelines. As intended, the pipelines 
were constructed by engineer units of 

M Monthly Rpts Construction Div OCE ETO, 
ADSEC Files, 51-104; COMZ G-4 History, V, 14-15; 
TWX E-46157, COMZ to SHAEF, 11 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 800 Harbors, Opening, Use, Construc- 
tion; COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications 
Diary/Jnl, 4 Oct 44, ETO Adm G-4 145C; Petro- 
leum, Oil, and Lubricants, Hist Rpt 13, CE ETO, 
PP. 94-95- 

the Advance Section, the lines later be- 
ing turned over to other COMZ sections 
wherever they assumed area control. The 
resulting divided responsibility for a serv- 
ice which, like the Red Ball Express, had 
become intersectional in its operations, 
had the usual defects, and it soon became 
evident that centralized control was im- 
perative if maximum efficiency was to 
be achieved. On 23 September, there- 
fore, all construction and operation of 
the pipelines were brought under the 
control of a single agency of the Office 
of the Chief Engineer, ETO, known as 
the Military Pipeline Service. Thereafter 
all pipeline troop units were attached to 
the Military Pipeline Service for opera- 
tional control, and to the various COMZ 
sections in which they happened to be 
located only for supply and administra- 
tion. The new organization permitted 



Camouflaged Pumping Station along the pipeline from Cherbourg. 

the chief engineer to exercise effective 
unified control over all planning, con- 
struction methods, and operation, 24 

The inadequacy of the Major and 
Minor Pipeline Systems, 25 both as a 
means of inland transport and as an in- 
take facility, became evident as the 
weather began to worsen toward the end 
of September. Port-en-Bessin, the ter- 
minus of the Minor System, was particu- 
larly vulnerable because of its depend- 
ence on the submarine Tombolas for 

24 Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 
309; Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants, Hist Rpt 13, 
CE ETO, pp. 84-85; COMZ G-4 History, V, 19; 
ADSEC G-4 Periodic Rpt for Quarter Ending 30 
Sep 44, ADSEC 319.1 G-4 Periodic Rpts; Report 
on POL Plans and Construction to 8 May 45, n.d., 
ADSEC Engineer Completion Rpts Bulk POL In- 

23 Beginning in January 1945 the combined fa- 
cilities of the Major and Minor Systems were usu- 
ally referred to as the Western System. 

tanker discharge. The planners had fore- 
seen this, and an additional overland 
pipeline had been constructed from 
Cherbourg to Port-en-Bessin to ensure 
the full use of the storage facilities of the 
Minor System, which served both U.S. 
and British forces. Port-en-Bessin pos- 
sessed a maximum intake capacity of 
6,000 tons per day, but its average per- 
formance could not be counted on to 
exceed 2,000 tons. Clearance difficulties 
at Cherbourg made it imperative that 
Port-en-Bessin be used to its maximum 
potential, and POL officials planned to 
keep the port in operation as long as 
possible. In mid-September U.S. and 
British officials allocated one third of 
the port's capacity to U.S. forces, which 
included continuing the transfer of up 
to 1,000 tons per day over the line from 
Cherbourg. In the first week of October, 



however, bad weather gave a foretaste 
of future difficulties when it caused two 
Tombola berths to be put out of action 
and necessitated the diversion of tankers 
to Cherbourg. Brigadier D. H. Bond, 
chief of the G-4 Petroleum Branch at 
SHAEF, foresaw that difficulties in dis- 
charge via ship-to-shore lines might very 
soon sharply reduce the amounts of gaso- 
line that could be made available at 
Port-en-Bessin and warned that U.S. 
forces should no longer expect a large 
portion of the Minor System's reduced 
output. 26 

Although it handled 80 percent of all 
the gasoline brought to the Continent, 
Cherbourg itself was proving unsatisfac- 
tory as a POL port, for its operations 
were frequently affected by bad weather, 
and its capacity was limited by inade- 
quate intake and storage facilities. On 
the night of 4 October a small storm 
destroyed eight of the ten intake lines 
at the Digue de Querqueville, stopping 
all discharge for eight hours and mate- 
rially limiting it for another twenty-four. 
Storage facilities, which totaled about 
250,000 barrels for MT80 and at first 
appeared ample, proved inadequate. 
Pipeline breaks farther inland, such as 
occurred when a flood washed out a 
section of the line between La Haye-du- 
Puits and St. L6, slowed clearance of the 

2e Min, Mtg, 21 A Gp, SHAEF, and ETO POL 
Officials at 21 A Gp Rear Hq, 12 Sep 44, SHAEF 
G-4 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil (General) 1945; 
Memo, Bond for G-4 SHAEF, 22 Sep 44, sub: Pro- 
tection of Port-en-Bessin for Winter Opns, Ltr, 
Col. H. Goodfellow, 21 A Gp, to G-4 Petrol SHAEF, 
30 Sep 44, sub: Bulk Imports— MT80, Memo, Bond 
for G-4 POL COMZ, 8 Oct 44, sub: Bulk Imports 
MT80 Port-en-Bessin, and Memo, G-4 Petrol 
SHAEF for Bond, 8 Oct 44, sub: Gen Info Tanker 
Position Channel Ports, all in SHAEF G-4 463.7 
Gas and Motor Oil. 

port and forced tankers to wait offshore. 27 
Discharge had been rather limited all 
along by the fact that only one berth had 
been provided, which, located along the 
Digue de Querqueville in the exposed 
Grande Rade, was unavoidably vacant 
during the periods between tankers. But 
the Communications Zone refused to 
authorize the expenditure required to 
provide a second berth and additional 
offloading lines which Normandy Base 
Section requested in mid-October. 28 By 
that time POL officials had taken steps 

"Notes on Conf, Office of the G-4 12 A Gp, 5 
Nov 44, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, I; 
Min, CAO Mtg, 10 Nov 44, SHAEF AG 337-14; 
Memo, Maj J. M. D. Heald, Chief Ping and Rqmts 
Br ETO G-4 POL, for Brig Gen Weaver, 23 Oct 
44, USFET Petrol Officer 40042B Capacity for Bulk 
POL on Continent. 

2S With two berths Cherbourg, according to Nor- 
mandy Base, might have maintained an uninter- 
rupted discharge at the maximum rate of 405 tons 
per hour. Another source states that the Cherbourg 
installation could handle 500 tons per hour. Ltr, 
Normandy Base Section to G-4 COMZ, 17 Oct 44, 
sub: POL Situation Normandy Base Sec, with Ind, 
3 Nov 44, EUCOM 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, 
44, lib, and Ltr, Lt Col H. C. Ferrell, Chief Stocks 
and Shipping Br G-4 Petrol Br COMZ, to ANPB, 
30 Sep 44, sub: Shipping Facilities— Far Shore, 
USFET Petrol Office 400.426 Capacity for Bulk 
POL on Continent. 

The PLUTO project, calling for underwater 
pipelines from the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg, 
was largely a failure. Two flexible 3-inch cables 
were laid in August, but extreme difficulties were 
encountered because of leaks and breaks, and no 
gasoline was ever pumped through them. A third 
line began delivering gasoline in mid-September at 
the rate of about 140 tons per day, but the total 
deliveries were insignificant. In November Briga- 
dier Bond reported all lines broken down and 
inoperative, and recommended the abandonment 
of the project. Memo, Bond for G-4 SHAEF, 23 
Nov 44, sub: Abandonment of PLUTO Project- 
Isle of Wight to Cherbourg, SHAEF G-4 463.7 
Gas and Motor Oil; Memo, Col Dan Gilmer for 
Gen Hull, 2 Nov 44, sub: Cross-Channel Pipelines, 
OPD Exec Office File 9; SHAEF G-4 Weekly 
Logistical Summaries for 10-16 Sep, 17-23 Sep, and 
8-14 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 War Diary/Jnl. 



to develop additional bulk intake capac- 
ity elsewhere. The first relief was af- 
forded at Ostend, a British-operated port, 
where U.S. forces were initially author- 
ized to draw 500 tons, later 1,000 tons, 
of MT80 gasoline per day. Discharge at 
Ostend began in the second week of 
October and was uneven because of the 
vagaries of the weather. Nevertheless, 
deliveries there relieved to some extent 
pressure on Cherbourg. 29 

Reception and distribution facilities 
were also substantially augmented by the 
development of what was known as the 
Seine River System, based on Le Havre 
and, farther up the river, Port Jerome 
and a satellite of Rouen, Petit Couronne. 
Both offloading and storage facilities 
were found relatively undamaged at Le 
Havre, where tankers could discharge 
either into smaller tanker vessels for 
transshipment to Rouen, or into shore 
storage, whence bulk POL could either 
be delivered to Port Jerome through an 
existing 10-inch pipeline, or shipped out 
via rail or truck. 

Plans were immediately made to de- 
velop Le Havre's discharge capacity to 
5,000 tons per day, 3,000 of which were 
to be shipped to Port Jerome, via the 
pipeline. Engineers of the Military Pipe- 
line Service began rehabilitating existing 
facilities in mid-October, starting with 
unloading lines and storage at Le Havre, 
and clearing the pipeline to Port Jer- 
ome. The pipeline was not placed in 
operation until December, but Le Havre 
received its first tanker on 31 October, 

w SHAEF G-4 War Diary/Jnl, Petrol Br, 8 Oct 
44; COMZ G-4 History, 22; Quartermaster Supply 
in the European Theater of Operations, QM School, 
Camp Lee, Va., IV, Fuels and Lubricants, 46. 

and unloading into storage and decant- 
ing began immediately. Facilities at the 
other two ports were gradually brought 
into use, and work on the various instal- 
lations continued until February. 

By the end of January 1945 the Seine 
River System, combining tanker berths 
and storage, decanting, and loading fa- 
cilities at Le Havre, Petit Couronne, and 
Port Jerome, was virtually complete. In- 
cluded were two 6-inch pipelines from 
Petit Couronne to Darnetal, across the 
Seine, taken over from the British. 30 

While the development of the Seine 
River System had high priority, Allied 
planners counted even more heavily on 
Antwerp to bolster continental recep- 
tion capacity. The great Belgian port 
was known to have POL facilities match- 
ing those for general cargo reception. 
Storage capacity alone totaled 2,600,000 
barrels and was captured virtually un- 
damaged. A survey of the port in Sep- 
tember revealed that only minor alter- 
ations would be required to provide the 
necessary tank truck and tank car load- 
ing facilities. Antwerp's value was to be 
further enhanced by the construction of 
pipelines which were eventually to de- 
liver bulk gasoline across the Rhine. 
Plans which the Military Pipeline Serv- 
ice submitted to the COMZ G-4 in Sep- 
tember called for laying one 6-inch and 
four 4-inch lines from Antwerp to Ko- 

30 Monthly Reports Construction Div OCE ETO, 
Sep 44-Jan 45, ADSEC Records; Memo, Bond for 
G_4 SHAEF, 27 Oct 44, sub: Dev of Port of 
Le Havre, Seine River, and Rouen for Bulk POL, 
and Memo, Lord for Crawford, 29 Oct 44, sub: 
Dev of Bulk POL Import Facilities at Le Havre 
and Along the Seine River, EUCOM 463.7 Gaso- 
line and Motor Oil, 1944, lib; SHAEF G-4 War 
Diary/Jnl, 9, 17, and 27 Oct 44; History of the 
Channel Base Section, I, 148, ETO Adm 588. 



POL Storage Tanks, used by the Americans, Petit Couronne, France, December 1944. 

blenz. Subsequent alterations in the plan 
named Cologne as the eastern terminus, 
and finally Wesel, much farther north. 

The COMZ G-4 approved the plans 
for the Antwerp, or Northern, System, 
as it was called, early in October and 
instructed the Military Pipeline Service 
to proceed with construction immedi- 
ately, although there was as yet no pros- 
pect of receiving POL through Antwerp 
because the Schelde estuary had not yet 
been cleared. Construction was initially 
held up for lack of materials and equip- 
ment, but work finally got under way on 
loading facilities in Antwerp with the 
arrival of equipment via rail from Cher- 
bourg and through the loan of additional 
equipment from 21 Army Group. The 
first tanker berthed at Antwerp on 3 

Work on the pipeline did not begin 
until 8 December, more than a week 
after the port opened. Construction then 
started simultaneously at several points 
along the route, and the lines were com- 
pleted to Maastricht by the end of Janu- 
ary, where dispensing of both MT80 
and aviation gasoline began early the 
next month. Construction was suspended 
at that point, and Maastricht remained 
the eastern terminus of the Northern 
System until early in March, when the 
extension of the lines northeastward was 
undertaken. In a minor switch from 
original plans the 6-inch line was even- 
tually used for MT80 and two of the 
4-inch lines for aviation gasoline. POL 
facilities at Antwerp, like cargo-handling 
facilities, were used jointly by U.S. and 
British forces, The Communications 



Zone had at first bid for 675,000 of the 
2,600,000 barrels of storage. By January 
1945 U.S. forces had been allocated a 
total of 950,000 barrels. 31 Intake of the 
system eventually averaged more than 
30,000 barrels per day, some of which was 
pumped forward for decanting at Maas- 
tricht, and later at Wesel. 32 

The need for additional intake and 
storage facilities was paralleled by a simi- 
lar requirement for more adequate 
means of distribution, of which the pipe- 
lines were only a part. The ideal method 
of distribution, as contemplated in POL 
plans, called for the reception and for- 
warding of gasoline in bulk to storage 
facilities in the Communications Zone, 
and retail distribution, particularly to 
combat elements, in 5-gallon cans. 33 

All decanting from bulk and packag- 
ing was intended to be carried out by 
the Communications Zone. But the 
speed of the pursuit, the lag in pipeline 
construction, the condition of the rail- 
ways, and the shortage of 5-gallon cans 
all combined to upset these intentions. 34 
In mid-September First and Third Arm- 
ies were receiving gasoline mainly by 
trucks hauling from the pipeheads at 
Chartres and Alen^on to Soissons and 
Sommesous. By the end of the month 
First Army was receiving a large portion 

31 Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants, Hist Rpt 13, 
CE ETO, pp. 99-105; Monthly Rpts Construction 
Div OCE ETO, ADS EC Files. 

32 Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, II, 

App. 33-C-4- 

33 The 55-gallon drum was never considered sat- 
isfactory for retail distribution because of its weight 
and bulk, and its use was therefore kept to a mini- 
mum on the northern lines of communications. 
Many cases of hernia were attributed to the at- 
tempts to manhandle the awkward 55-gallon drum. 
QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 139. 

34 QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, pp. 139-40. 

of its requirements in bulk via tank 
trucks and tank cars and doing its own 
decanting into 5-gallon cans. Third Army 
for a while got most of its gasoline pack- 
aged and by rail, but eventually it also 
set up its own decanting points. Inade- 
quate decanting facilities at the pipe- 
heads and other shortcomings of the pipe- 
line also made it necessary to ship gaso- 
line, both in bulk and in cans, by rail 
from Cherbourg. 35 

The entire distribution problem was 
severely aggravated in October by a grow- 
ing shortage of 5-gallon cans. The lowly 
"jerrican," so named by the British, who, 
followed by the Americans, had copied 
the German container after discovering 
its superior merits, had a role in gasoline 
supply hardly suggested by its size. 36 
Gasoline might be shipped from the port 
via pipeline, tank car, or tank truck; but 
it had to be delivered in packaged form 
to the ultimate consumer. In the last 
analysis, therefore, the retail distribution 

35 Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, Lubri- 
cants, 44-45; Study G-4 SHAEF, 28 Sep 44, sub: 
Mov of POL, SHAEF G-4 463.7 Gas and Motor 
Oil, III; History of G-4 POL, Normandy Base 
Section Hist Rpts, pp. 3-4, ETO Adm. 

36 The U.S.-developed container, sometimes re- 
ferred to as the "ameri-can" was also essentially a 
copy of the German can except for the closure. 
The jerrican had a simple locked-cap, cam-operated 
spout; the ameri-can had a larger opening with a 
screw cap, to which a flexible nozzle was supposed 
to be attached for pouring. Quartermaster officials 
designed the American container in the belief that 
the gas tank openings on U.S. vehicles, which were 
either countersunk or flush with the body, could be 
reached only with a nozzle attachment. But com- 
bat experience actually proved this to be its greatest 
defect. Nozzles were easily lost and were difficult 
to replace. Lacking them, or preferring not to 
bother with them, drivers often wasted gasoline 
through spilling. Quartermaster Supply in the 
ETO, IV, 29. 

Thousands of Jerricans are filled from railroad tank cars at a decanting area, 
Belgium, December 1944. 

of gasoline depended in large part on an 
adequate supply of 5-gaHon cans. 

U.S. forces had built up a stock of 
about 13,000,000 cans before the Nor- 
mandy invasion. But this number was 
expected to suffice only for the initial 
stages of continental operations. Quar- 
termaster planners subsequently con- 
cluded that about 800,000 new cans per 
month would be required to cover losses 
(estimated at 5 percent per month after 
D plus 60) and to maintain a can popu- 
lation commensurate with the troop 
build-up. The chief quartermaster ac- 
cordingly placed an order with the Brit- 
ish War Office for nearly 4,500,000 cans 
to be supplied from U.K. manufacture 
by the end of 1944. Nearly 2,000,000 
of them were intended for the air forces 

with the understanding that they would 
be turned over to the ground forces after 
their first trip in accordance with the 
practice of using them only once for 
aviation fuel. 37 A large portion of U.S. 
can requirements had already been met 
by British production, in part through 
the shipment of an American plant to 
England early in 1943. 38 

Tactical developments in the first three 
months were largely responsible for up- 

3T Ltr, Cummings to Gen Peckham, 19 Sep 44, 
sub: Reqmts for 5-Gallon Blitz Cans, USFET 458.11 
Cans 1943-45; Romanus et ah, Quartermaster Op- 
erations in the War Against Germany, Ch. VIII, 

38 The plant had been set up in Middlesex and 
was operated by the firm of Magna tex Limited 
under the control of the Ministry of Supply. Quar- 
termaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 30-31. 



setting the chief quartermaster's plans 
for supplying an adequate number of 
jerricans. The rapid advance, in addi- 
tion to increasing the consumption of 
POL, had, by placing Allied forces far 
beyond planned phase lines, resulted in 
a much longer turnaround time— that is, 
the time required to fill, forward, and 
return cans— than that on which the re- 
quired supply of cans had been based. 39 

The loss of cans had also been much 
higher than expected. Retail distribution 
of gasoline in the early phases had been 
based on the principle of exchanging a 
full can for an empty one. Units were 
permitted to draw 100 full cans only 
by turning in an equal number of 
empties. This simple but essentially 
sound SOP was widely disregarded in 
the heat of the pursuit, resulting in a 
trail of abandoned or discarded jerricans 
stretching from Normandy to the West 
Wall. Hundreds of thousands lay in aban- 
doned dumps and bivouacs; thousands 
more had been used to build sidewalks 
in the mud, or as chairs, and for hun- 
dreds of other purposes not intended; 
others had found their way into French 
homes. By mid-October the chief quar- 
termaster noted that 3,500,000 could not 
be accounted for. 40 

Meanwhile two of the sources of sup- 
ply showed signs of drying up. The air 
forces had given notice that they could 
not ensure the return of their quota of 
cans, stating that they were needed for 
static reserves because of the depletion 
of current working stocks. As for pro- 
curement in the United Kingdom, which 

39 Original plans had been based on a seven-day 
turnaround. British planners had used a more 
realistic thirteen-day factor. 

40 Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 33. 

U.S. forces had counted on as their main 
source after D Day, the British War 
Office first advised that it could allocate 
only 2 2 1 ,ooo cans per month to the Amer- 
icans against the request for 500,000, 
and subsequently expressed a desire to 
retrain the entire U.K. output for Brit- 
ish forces. 41 In mid-September the 
chief quartermaster therefore reluctantly 
turned to the War Department to meet 
the theater's needs, placing a requisition 
for 7,000,000 cans. The War Depart- 
ment offered to provide only 5,400,000 
of this number. All but two can-produc- 
ing plants in the United States had been 
closed down, it explained, and it did not 
favor reopening idle plants and drawing 
labor away from other urgent produc- 
tion. It would be much more economical, 
the War Department suggested, to in- 
crease going production in the United 
Kingdom. 42 

Can production was one of the several 
fields in which the United States and 
Britain eventually found it necessary to 
collaborate closely. Early in the fall, 
when it became apparent that require- 
ments were outrunning production facil- 
ities, British and U.S. officials in Wash- 
ington agreed to set up an Allied Con- 
tainer Advisory Committee to co-ordi- 
nate more closely the collection of infor- 
mation on requirements and potential 
sources of supply and to allocate pro- 
duction. Late in November, apparently 
as a result of the committee's initial 

41 Ltr, Cummings to Peckham, 19 Sep 44. 

42 Cbl, ETO to AGWAR, 19 Sep 44 Cbls, ANPB 
to COMNAVEU, 19 and 23 Sep 44, Cbl, ETO to 
AGWAR, 30 Sep 44, and Cbl CR-1351, ANPB to 
ETO, 7 Oct 44, all in USFET 463.72 Ground 
Force Gasoline, II; Ltr, Barnes to War Office, 21 
Oct 44, sub: Supply of Returnable Cans From U.S., 
USFET 458,1 Containers 1942-45, 



deliberations, the British agreed to pro- 
vide about 550,000 cans per month to 
American forces. 

Also the chief quartermaster had be- 
gun to explore the possibilities of meet- 
ing a portion of U.S. needs from another 
source— local procurement on the Conti- 
nent. Negotiations during the fall pro- 
duced agreements with the French for 
the manufacture of 9,000,000 cans and 
with the Belgians for 2,000,000. Both 
programs were dependent on imports of 
sheet steel from the United States. Pro- 
duction was scheduled to get under way 
in February in Belgium and in April in 

Early in January the chief quarter- 
master re-estimated U.S. requirements 
and, on the basis of maintenance and 
turnaround factors developed during op- 
erations thus far, concluded that U.S. 
forces would need about 1,300,000 new 
cans per month in 1945 to maintain a 
workable can population for the gradu- 
ally increasing troop strength. U.S. and 
British officials agreed then that approxi- 
mately 550,000 of these should be pro- 
vided from British production, and that 
the rest should come from U.S. and 
continental production, the zone of in- 
terior contribution depending on prog- 
ress in getting French and Belgian pro- 
duction under way. 

The local procurement programs 
failed to make a significant contribution 
to U.S. requirements before the end of 
hostilities, largely because of difficulties 
in getting sheet steel from the United 
States. As of V-E Day the French had 
manufactured only a token number of 
the original commitment. Shortly before 
the end of hostilities the chief quarter- 
master estimated that U.S. forces needed 

a can population of 19,000,000 to sup- 
port the current troop strength. But 
the target was not met. What the actual 
count was in the last month is not 
known. 43 

The theater also had initiated a vigor- 
ous campaign to recover some of the lost 
cans. With the help of the Allied and 
U.S. Information Services, and employ- 
ing The Stars and Stripes, the French and 
Belgian press, and the radio and news- 
reels, it widely publicized the importance 
of the jerrican's role in winning the war, 
and made an unprecedented appeal to 
civilians and soldiers alike to search for 
the wayward containers and return them 
to the supply stream. Through the 
French Ministry of Education a special 
appeal was made to French children to 
round up cans, offering prizes and cer- 
tificates for the best efforts. In this way 
approximately 1,000,000 cans were re- 
covered. At the end of November 2,- 
500,000 were still "AWOL." 44 

The first improvement in POL distri- 
bution had been realized in October, 
when the minimum requirements of 
MT80 for U.S. forces east of the Seine 
rose to 5,900 tons (1,616,600 gallons) per 

43 Romanus et aL, Quartermaster Operations in 
the War Against Germany, Ch. VIII, pp. 145-48; 
Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 32-35; Cbl, 
BAS (Washington) to War Office, 14 Nov 44, Ltr, 
Barnes to GPA, 2 Dec 44, sub: Availability of 
5-Gallon Returnable Cans, Ltr, Lt. Col. J. R. 
Spencer to Chief G-4 Petroleum Br SHAEF, 24 Jan 
45, with Min, Mtg, Allied Container Advisory Com- 
mittee, Ltr, Col. J. B. Franks, DCQM ETO, to 
QM U.K. Base, 25 Jan 45, sub: Returnable Pack- 
ages— Rqmts, Availability, and Procurement, and 
Ltr, Littlejohn to QMG, 2 Apr 45, sub: Jerrican 
Rqmts, all in USFET 458. u Cans 1943-45. 

44 Ltr, Lee to Sec Comdrs, 21 Nov 44, sub: Sup- 
ply of Gasoline on the Continent, EUCOM 463.7 
Gasoline and Motor Oil, lib: Quartermaster Supply 
in the ETO, IV, 33, 



day. 45 Early in the month the Communi- 
cations Zone specified that 600 tons of 
this requirement were henceforth to be 
drawn from Ostend for delivery to First 
Army by tank car, thus relieving to a 
small extent the strain on the Cherbourg 
line of communications. U.S. and Brit- 
ish forces were also constructing three 6- 
inch pipelines to Ghent in order to re- 
duce the road and rail haul from that 
port. 46 Large shipments, all packaged, 
still had to be made from Normandy 
Base Section, totaling 1,600 tons by truck 
and 800 tons by rail. The remainder, 
2,900 tons, was scheduled to be decanted 
at the pipehead at Coubert. 47 

Rain and mud began to hinder opera- 
tions at Coubert in October, and, in any 
case, only one line extended that far 
eastward. Fortunately the Military Pipe- 
line Service had located an unused auto- 
drome with fifteen miles of paved road 
at Linas, only a few miles east of the 
take-off point at Dourdan. Construction 
of storage tanks and eighty double risers 
at Linas, and the laying of two lines con- 
necting it with the main pipeline turned 
this installation into the biggest decant- 
ing point on the Continent, The instal- 
lation at Coubert, used mainly for rail 
shipments, was enlarged later, after an 
air attack on the pipehead during the 

"The total MT80 requirements for U.S. forces 
on the Continent exceeded 2,000,000 gallons per 
day, and of aviation gasoline, 700,000 gallons. Ltr, 
Barnes to ANPB in Washington, 3 Oct 44, sub: 
Bulk Distribution on Continent to Forward Areas, 
USFET Petrol Office 400.42B Capacity for Bulk 
POL on Continent. 

46 Ltr, Lord to 12 A Gp, 6 Oct 44, sub: Supply 
of POL on the Continent, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline 
and Motor Oil, I. 

47 Ltr, Hq COMZ to Sec Comdrs, 14 Oct 44, sub: 
Forward Shipments of MT80 Gasoline, AD SEC 
463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil. 

Ardennes counteroffensive. Standby fa- 
cilities, consisting of two storage tanks, 
the necessary rail-loading risers, and a 
connecting pipeline were constructed at 
Grisy Suisnes, on an alternate rail line 
a few miles to the north. 48 

First Army was the initial beneficiary 
of the slightly improved POL deliveries 
in October. By the middle of the month 
its reserve actually exceeded the author- 
ized level, rising to 6.55 days of supply, 
and within another week it reached 104 
days. 49 Late in the month it became ap- 
parent that this rebuilding of First 
Army's reserve had been carried out at 
the expense of other formations. By, con- 
trast, Third Army's situation had actu- 
ally deteriorated. Late in the month it 
reported that receipts of gasoline in the 
preceding three weeks had fallen short 
of requests by more than 2,000,000 gal- 
lons. Its reserves had receded despite 
strict rationing, and in the last week of 
October, as it prepared for resumption 
of the offensive, amounted to less than 
one and one-half days of supply. 50 

Third Army had reported its critical 
situation in POL directly to Supreme 
Headquarters, which took immediate 
measures to have the imbalance between 
the armies righted. By the time of the 
November offensive the reserves were 
fairly well equalized: First Army then 

48 Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants, Hist Rpt 13, 
CE ETO, pp. 93-94; Quartermaster Supply in the 
ETO, IV, 47. 

49 FUSA and 12 A Gp G-4 Weekly Periodic Rpts 
for Oct 44. 

30 TWX F-1503, TUSA to G-4 SHAEF, 24 Oct 
44, and Memo, G-4 Petroleum for G-4 SHAEF, 23 
Oct 44, sub: MT80 Status-12 A Gp, SHAEF G-4 
463.7 Gas and Motor Oil, 1944; Rapport in ETO 
Plant and Communications Diary /Jnl, 25 Oct 44, 
ETO Adm 145C; TUSA G-4 Periodic Rpts for 
Oct 44. 



Sign Appealing for the Return of 
Jerricans posted along a street in 
Gharleroi, Belgium. 

held 7.3 days of supply, Third Army 6.7, 
and Ninth Army 9.3. 51 Levels in the Ad- 
vance Section and Communications Zone 
had also been precariously low through- 
out October, and rebuilding them was 
deliberately postponed until those in the 
combat zone had been re-established. At 
the start of the November offensive the 
Advance Section held stocks amounting 

to only .27 days, and the Communica- 
tions Zone 6.5 days. 52 

The experience of October had dem- 
onstrated once more how, in a period of 
unpredictable deliveries, a loosely super- 
vised allocations system could create in- 
equities. First Army had naturally taken 
advantage of its favored position in ton- 
nage allocations to provide its own in- 
surance against the insecurity which had 
become so characteristic of operations 
since early September. The army group, 
aware of the temporary imbalance which 
had resulted, saw as the only solution to 
the problem the recovery of the logistic 
structure to the point where it could be 
depended on to meet the armies* requests 
more promptly. Under current condi- 
tions, in which reserves were meager or 
nonexistent, the long reaction time be- 
tween the submission of requisitions and 
the receipt of supplies— as much as nine 
or ten days— constantly threatened inter- 
ruptions in the flow of supplies which 
could seriously handicap the armies. The 
army group agreed that a more rigid 
control over the accumulation of re- 
serves in the combat zone should be im- 
posed, but only after a substantial build- 
up of supplies in the Communications 
Zone and more adequate transportation 
reduced the time required to fill requi- 
sitions. 53 

These conditions were gradually met 

81 is A Gp Periodic Rpt for Period 5-11 Nov 44. 
The respective Army G-4 Periodics reported 6.2, 
5.34, and 7.9 days of supply on hand at that time. 

"12 A Gp G-4 Periodic Rpt for Period 5-11 
Nov 44; TWX S-63946, Crawford to TUSA, 25 Oct 
44, and TWX £^58485, Lee to TUSA, 29 Oct 44, 
SHAEF AG 463.7-1 POL Tankers and Targets, 

63 CbI £^58380, COMZ to 12 A Gp, 28 Oct 44, 
and reply, Ltr, 5 Nov 44, sub: Distribution of 
Available Supplies of MT80, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gaso- 
line and Motor Oil, I; Notes on POL Conf, Office 
of the G-4 12 A Gp, 5 Nov 44, dated 10 Nov 44, 
12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, I. 



in November. The improvement in POL 
supply generally paralleled the bright- 
ening of the entire supply picture occa- 
sioned by the opening of Le Havre and 
Rouen and the improvement in trans- 
portation. Le Havre possessed four tank- 
er berths, but work was required on 
storage and rail clearance facilities be- 
fore the port's full potential could be 
realized. Gasoline was at first shuttled 
up the Seine to Rouen, where tank trucks 
were used for clearance. 

Early in the month the Communica- 
tions Zone stopped shipping jerricans all 
the way back to Cherbourg, thus cutting 
down on their turnaround time and alle- 
viating the can shortage. Except for 
movements through the pipelines all 
shipments out of Cherbourg henceforth 
were made in bulk via rail tank car. 

At the same time the Advance Section 
took steps to provide bulk storage in the 
forward areas. The largest depots were 
established at Liege, which served First 
Army, Luetterode, which served the 
Ninth, and in the vicinity of Verdun, 
which served the Third. The Advance 
Section eventually took over decanting 
from the armies. The attempts by the 
armies to fill their own cans had not 
proved entirely successful. Dispensers 
were initially lacking and often operated 
inefficiently, and the arrival of bulk 
trains was highly unpredictable. As an 
example, Col. Andrew T. McNamara, 
the First Army quartermaster, reported 
that on a single day 109 tank cars had 
arrived at the First Army railhead with- 
out warning. In the absence of adequate 
dispensing facilities, tank cars, always in 
short supply, consequently were immo- 
bilized. Once more the desirability of 
getting advance notice of shipments was 

underscored. One 12th Army Group staff 
officer expressed the sentiment of all 
army quartermasters when he noted that 
"if ever Com Z desired to endear itself 
with the Armies," one means of doing so 
would be to give advance information 
of shipments. 54 

The opening of Antwerp at the end 
of November finally gave the desired 
flexibility to the POL distribution sys- 
tem by providing additional intake ca- 
pacity on short lines of communication. 
Although the projected pipelines from 
that port to Maastricht had not yet been 
constructed, both intake and inland 
transportation were now quite adequate 
to meet all Allied needs in the near fu- 
ture. With the opening of Antwerp to 
POL tankers, distribution of MT80 gaso- 
line was accomplished roughly as fol- 
lows: most of the gasoline discharged at 
Antwerp found its way either to First or 
Ninth Army, or to the Advance Section 
for its own use, a large portion of it be- 
ing sent in bulk via rail tank car, the 
remainder going by way of the Liege 
storage depot, where it was first pack- 
aged. The U.S. allocation at Ostend had 
the same destination, being piped to 
Ghent, then forwarded in bulk by rail 
to Liege, where it was also packaged be- 
fore delivery to using units. Most of the 
gasoline entering the Continent at Cher- 
bourg eventually went to Third Army or 
to the Advance Section, going forward 
via pipeline to Coubert, and the remain- 
ing distance either in bulk by rail or to 

84 Memo, Col K. R. Bendetsen, 12 A Gp, to 
COMZ Ln Off, 8 Nov 44, sub: Advance TWX No- 
tice of Rail Shipments, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline 
and Motor Oil, I; TUSA G-4 Periodic Rpts for 
Nov; ADSEC Operations History, p. 121; Notes on 
POL Conf, Office of G-4 12 A Gp, 5 Nov 44, 12 
A Gp 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, I. 



U.S. First Army's POL Reserves, 
stored along the roadside near Spa, 
Belgium, 7 December 1944* 

the Verdun complex, where it was pack- 
aged. A portion of the Major System's 
output was drawn off at Chartres or 
Linas for local use in the Seine Section 
or shipped via rail to Brittany, and a 
small amount was decanted in Normandy 
for use there. Le Havre's intake was con- 
sumed largely in Channel Base Section 
or in the Oise Section. The total de- 
liveries arriving via tanker and disposed 
of in this way came to about 7,000 tons. 
Much smaller tonnages continued to ar- 
rive on the Continent in 5-gallon cans. 

Aviation gasoline arrived largely via Ant- 
werp and Cherbourg, and from the latter 
was forwarded via pipeline to Chartres. 55 

The improvement in POL intake and 
distribution facilities brought with it a 
reassuring situation with regard to con- 
tinental reserves. Reserve levels in the 
combat zone remained fairly stable after 
they had been rebuilt in November. In 
mid-December, at the start of the enemy 
counteroffensive, First Army had 7 days 
of supply on hand, Third had 8.8 days, 
and Ninth Army 12.8. Meanwhile re- 
serves in the Communications Zone had 
staged a remarkable recovery, rising to 
6 days in the Advance Section and to 
12.03 days in the Communications 
Zone. 56 The building of these levels re- 
moved much of the anxiety which the 
armies had felt only a few weeks earlier. 

On 16 December the German counter- 
offensive suddenly threatened to destroy 
much of the work of the preceding 
month in the north. Attacks outside the 
immediate area of penetration took the 
form of air attacks on the pipehead at 
Coubert and on the Third Army decant- 
ing point at Mancieulles. But these 
proved to be only halfhearted attempts 
to disrupt POL supply and caused little 
serious damage. In much greater danger 
were those installations in the area of 

Ba Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 49—50, 
and Apps. X— A and X— B. 

S6 The levels represented tonnages as follows: 
FUSA, 14,220; TUSA, 14,351; NUSA, 15,474; 
ADSEC, 46,391; and COMZ, 68,771. As was ex- 
plained in the case of rations, the ADSEC level 
represented reserves not only for its own units but 
for all the armies, and the Communications Zone's 
level in turn represented reserves for the entire 
theater, so that the combat forces were actually 
backed by additional stocks equal to the levels in 
those two organizations, at this date totaling eight- 
een days of supply. 12 A Gp G— 4 Periodic Rpt for 
Period 10-16 Dec 44, with attached QM Rpts. 



First Army and the Advance Section 
which lay directly in the path of the of- 
fensive. Fortunately the First Army's 
two main POL dumps in the vicinity of 
Spa and Stavelot, containing 12,300 tons 
of gasoline, were successfully evacuated, 
and about half of all the POL products 
in the ADSEC depot at Liege, under 
attack from V-i's, was also loaded and 
moved back. The Advance Section lost 
about 900,000 gallons of gasoline as the 
result of fires started by German planes 
on two successive nights, and First Army 
destroyed a small quantity to prevent 
its capture. But on the whole losses 
were small. 

In view of the close proximity of 
reserves from which the armies could 
draw, no attempt was made to maintain 
authorized levels. First Army, which had 
reserves of nearly 3,500,000 gallons on 
the eve of the attack, allowed its on-hand 
stocks to drop to less than 400,000 gal- 
lons at the end of December, both 
through issues and evacuation. Mean- 
while all forward shipments were 
stopped, and most trains of bulk prod- 
ucts were halted and decanted at Charle- 
roi. First Army continued to maintain 
a reserve of only about one day of supply 
in January as it continued to reduce 
the "bulge/' But POL again began to 
flow into Liege during the month, and 
decanting was resumed there. By early 
February the distribution of POL had 
returned to normal. 57 

(3) Coal 

The supply of solid fuels was probably 
more consistently plagued with difficul- 

87 ADSEC Operations History, pp. 121-22; COMZ 
G-4 History, V, 24-25; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 
44-28 Feb 45, Bk. IV, pp. 67, 72. 

ties than that of any other item. Coal 
was needed for a variety of purely mili- 
tary purposes, including space heating, 
cooking, and hot water, for coffee roast- 
ing, static bakeries, bath units, and laun- 
dries, and above all for hospitals and for 
the railways. In addition, it was needed 
to provide minimum essential public 
utilities for the civilian population. 

The supply of coal, like that of POL, 
was a responsibility of the Quartermas- 
ter Corps, which procured, stored, and 
issued the fuel to using forces on the 
basis of established priorities and allow- 
ances. Like POL, coal was a "common- 
user" item, but its supply was handled 
somewhat differently because of the 
source of procurement. All coal used 
by the Allied forces had to come from 
Britain or be procured locally on the 
Continent. Supreme Headquarters there- 
fore exercised a closer control over the 
use of coal, screening both military and 
civilian requests, and allocating fuel to 
using agencies on the basis of priorities 
and availability. For this purpose a Solid 
Fuels Section had been set up within 
the Petrol and Fuel Branch, G-4, of 
SHAEF in March 1944. The G-4 of the 
Communications Zone eventually also 
organized a separate Coal Section within 
its Movements Branch to assemble all 
U.S. coal requirements, to co-ordinate 
procurement, shipment, unloading, stor- 
age, and distribution, and to maintain 
liaison with Supreme Headquarters on 
coal matters. 58 

Supreme Headquarters estimated that 

88 QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 163; 
COMZ G-4 History, V, 2; ' Col. W. R. Gordon, 
Deputy Chief, Solid Fuels Section, SHAEF, "Coal 
in War," The Journal of the Royal United Service 
Institution, XCI (November, 1946), 564. 



the total Allied requirement for coal in 
the first three months on the Continent 
would be about 111,000 tons. Since the 
landings were to take place far from the 
French coal fields, this requirement had 
to be met entirely through imports from 
the United Kingdom. In fact, the pre- 
D-Day forecast of operations and the 
expectation that the Germans would de- 
stroy mine shafts as they had in World 
War I made it unlikely that the Allies 
would be able to draw on continental 
resources until much later. Overlord 
plans provided that until D plus 41 all 
coal (about 14,000 tons) would be 
shipped to the Continent in eighty- 
pound sacks. Thereafter shipments 
would be made in bulk, with Caen (in 
the British sector), Granville, and the 
minor Brittany ports handling most of 
the discharge. 59 

Receipts lagged from the very start. 
The first sacked coal was not unloaded 
at Utah Beach until early in July, and 
Cherbourg did not begin to receive ship- 
ments until later in the month. Fortu- 
nately the need for coal was not great 
during the first months. By the end of 
August, however, three developments 
had made the supply of coal an increas- 
ingly urgent problem: a tremendous ex- 
pansion in rail traffic had begun; Paris, 
captured earlier than planned, required 
coal for its utilities; and cold weather 
was approaching. By early September it 
became clear that Allied needs would 
not be met by shipments from the 
United Kingdom. Imports had already 
fallen far behind schedule, in part be- 
cause of inadequate discharge capacity 
and a shortage of rail cars, but also as 

59 Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, Fuels 
and Lubricants, 70; COMZ G-4 History, V, 3. 

the result of bad weather. In the first five 
days of September Channel storms de- 
layed shipping and no coal was available 
at all for discharge at Cherbourg. Shortly 
thereafter a shortage of rail cars became 
the bottleneck, holding discharge to a 
fraction of the 2,500 tons per day which 
Cherbourg was planned to handle. Port 
discharge capacity was generally unsatis- 
factory. Caen lacked adequate crane fa- 
cilities; Granville, which was planned to 
serve almost exclusively as a coal port, 
was still not ready to receive shipping, 
and did not open until the end of the 
month; and the shortage of shallow-draft 
shipping limited the use of the smaller 
Brittany ports like St. Brieuc. The result 
was that only a fraction of the current 
import target of 6,000 tons was being 
achieved. 60 

The poor import prospects made it 
all the more imperative that local pro- 
duction of coal be restored as quickly 
as possible. Early in September members 
of the Solid Fuels Section of SHAEF 
made a reconnaissance of the recently 
uncovered Nord and Pas-de-Calais coal 
fields to survey the stock position of coal 
above ground and to determine the con- 
dition and the productive capacity of the 
mines, their supply requirements, and 
transportation factors in making coal 
available. They found approximately 
1,000,000 metric tons of coal in ground 
stockpiles, another 15,000 tons in loaded 
cars, and about 100,000 tons on barges 
which were landlocked in various north- 
ern French canals as the result of de- 
stroyed bridges and other damage. Only 
about 100,000 tons of these stocks were 

^Min, Coal Conf Held at the Hotel Crillon, 
Paris, 16 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 337 Conf, 1944; 
Gordon, op. ext., p. 564; COMZ G-4 History, V, 3, 



of the quality suitable for locomotives 
and gas plants, the types which were 
most urgently needed. Production, which 
before the war had achieved a maximum 
of 100,000 tons per day, had recently 
dropped to 30,000 tons owing to several 
causes, including a lack of pitwood, 
labor unrest, and inadequate transporta- 
tion. But the condition of the mines was 
generally good, rail connections with 
Paris had been restored, there was an 
adequate supply of competent labor, and 
officials were optimistic about solving the 
labor difficulties. The big need was tim- 
ber for pit props, of which there was 
only a ten-day supply on hand. 61 

At the conclusion of the survey 
SHAEF took immediate steps to pro- 
mote the fullest possible exploitation 
of indigenous resources in the liberated 
countries and prepared to exercise com- 
plete control over the allocation of coal 
for both military and civilian needs. On 
1 1 September General Eisenhower asked 
the SHAEF Mission to France to re- 
quest the French Government to pro- 
vide as much coal as necessary to meet 
the needs of the Allied forces in France 
on the basis of the recently negotiated 
reciprocal aid agreement, and to grant 
to the Supreme Commander full author- 
ity to establish priorities for the supply 
and transportation of coal during the 
period of military operations and for 
about three months after the cessation 
of hostilities. Similar requests were made 
to the Dutch and Belgian Missions with- 
in the next few days. In making the re- 
quest the Supreme Commander noted 

81 Rpt of Reconnaissance of the Nord and Pas-de- 
Calais Coal fields by Members of the Solid Fuels 
Sec, Current Opns Br G-^4 SHAEF, 7-11 Sep 44, 
SHAEF G-4 337 Conf 1944, III. 

that both port discharge capacity and 
shipping were urgently needed to handle 
other supplies. Moreover, U.K. produc- 
tion was already strained to the utmost, 
and, in any event, larger quantities of 
locomotive coal could not be made avail- 
able from that source. Consequently the 
Allies were now forced to depend largely 
on continental resources. Coal and rail- 
way wagons had become munitions of 
war, and in view of their scarcity the 
provision and movement of coal for 
civilian purposes had to be kept to the 
barest minimum. 62 

The procurement and distribution of 
coal was rapidly assuming the propor- 
tions of a big business. To administer 
the program more adequately SHAEF 
reorganized and reinforced the staff deal- 
ing with the problem, combining G-5's 
coal section with the Solid Fuels Section 
of G-4 and thus adding qualified mining 
engineers to the staff. The headquarters 
was organized along functional lines to 
deal with production, requirements, 
shipping, internal transport, distribu- 
tion, and statistics. Subsections were 
eventually created for each liberated 
country and for Germany. Within six 
months the section had a strength of 
over 400 British, American, French, 
Belgian, and Dutch officers and men. Its 
principal missions were to effect a cen- 
tralized control over the procurement 
and distribution of solid fuels, both to 
military and civil agencies, to keep im- 
ports to a minimum, and to bring about 
the fullest possible exploitation of the 

62 Ltr, SAC to French Mission, 11 Sep 44, sub: 
French Coal Resources in Allied Expeditionary 
Force Zone, SHAEF G-4 Coal 137/10 GDP-i. The 
letters to the Belgian and Dutch Missions were 
dated 13 and 14 September respectively. 



indigenous resources of the liberated 
and occupied areas. Fulfilling these mis- 
sions required, among other things, that 
the section collect fuel requirements 
from all the military formations and na- 
tional authorities, that it screen essential 
civil requirements for public utilities 
and essential industries, that it allocate 
fuels after evaluating these needs, and 
that it take whatever measures were 
necessary, such as requesting mine sup- 
plies and machinery, to increase the pro- 
duction of coal. 63 

Neither imports nor local production 
improved sufficiently to meet the rising 
requirements in the months which fol- 
lowed, and the entire coal picture there- 
fore remained dark. In October unload- 
ings came to only about one third of the 
required imports. Early in the month the 
primary cause was the lack of rail cars 
to clear the ports. A few weeks later bad 
weather was given as the main reason 
for discharge targets not being met, par- 
ticularly at Granville and St. Brieuc. 64 
In southern France, where logistic sup- 
port depended almost exclusively on the 
military railways over a line of commu- 
nications more than 400 miles in length, 
the shortage of fuel was especially crit- 
ical. Stocks dwindled to an eight-day 
supply in November. Locomotive coal 
had always been a problem there; it had 
been imported from abroad and from 
the northern French fields even in peace- 

63 Gordon, op. ciL, p. 565; SHAEF Stf Memo 119, 
24 Oct 44, sub: Functions and Responsibilities of 
Solid Fuels Sec, SHAEF, SHAEF SGS 463.3 Coal 
Supply, I. 

84 TWX S-61191, SHAEF to COMZ, 6 Oct 44, 
SHAEF SGS 463.3 Coal Supply, I; Rpt of Allied- 
French Working Party, 20 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 
Coal 137/10 GDP-i; Min, 17th Mtg, Subcommittee 
at MOWT on Shipment of Bulk Coal to Overlord 
Area, 7 Nov 44, SHAEF G-4 337 Conferences, III. 

time. Damaged rail bridges and the lack 
of rail cars now made overland move- 
ments difficult, and Marseille lacked the 
proper discharge facilities. As in the 
north, there were plenty of coaster 
berths but no coasters. Late in Novem- 
ber the British War Office agreed to 
meet at least a part of southern France's 
critical need by shipping 25,000 tons 
from the United Kingdom. 65 

Continental coal production made 
some gains during the fall, but was 
plagued by endless difficulties. In south- 
ern France production rose to nearly 70 
percent of normal in November, and in 
an effort to achieve a higher measure 
of self-sufficiency Allied authorities 
rushed repairs on the Tarascon-Beau- 
caire bridge across the Rhone so that 
coal from the southern fields could be 
used on the Rhone line of communica- 
tions. The southern mines used prisoners 
of war with satisfactory results. 66 

In both the south and north the most 
persistent bottleneck in mining opera- 
tions was the shortage of pitwood, of 
which approximately one ton was needed 
for every thirty tons of coal produced. 
Early in the fall SHAEF gave the Com- 
munications Zone the responsibility for 
arranging an adequate supply of mine 
timber, and the Communications Zone 
in turn dealt directly with French re- 
gional authorities. Transportation, as 

09 Min, Mtg at Versailles on problem of transfer 
of solid fuels responsibility for southern France 
from AFHQ to SHAEF, 25 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 337 
Conferences, III; Rpt on Survey of the Southern 
French Coal Situation, G-4 SHAEF, 2-10 Nov 44, 
SHAEF AG 463.3 Coal, Case A, I; Cbl 8-66487, 
SHAEF to War Office, 12 Nov 44, TWX BWRT41, 
21 A Gp to SHAEF, 21 Nov 44, and Cbl 95956Q 
(Ops) 2, War Office to SHAEF, 22 Nov 44, all in 
SHAEF SGS 463.3 Coal Supply, I. 

66 COMZ G-4 History, V, 6. 



usual, was one of the major stumbling 
blocks, and in many cases the Commu- 
nications Zone had to make trucks, gas- 
oline, or tires available to pitwood con- 
tractors. 67 

During the winter coal production 
and, in turn, transportation were ad- 
versely affected by both bad weather and 
labor unrest. Lack of adequate foods 
and clothing led to widespread strikes, 
particularly in the Belgian mines, where 
production fell off 40 percent in January 
1945. 68 Severe winter weather added to 
the difficulties that month. Coal deliv- 
eries to Paris, a large portion of which 
normally were made by water, fell to 
12,000 tons per day against a minimum 
requirement of 20,000, in part because 
barge movements were blocked by ice, 
and in part because of the shortage of 
locomotives. In mid-January the director 
general of the French railways reported 
that 646 trains were delayed for lack 
of motive power. 69 

As early as the summer of 1944 the 
prospects of coal shortages had led Gen- 
eral Littlejohn to urge the use of wood 
as fuel wherever it could be substituted 
for coal. Early in the fall the Procure- 
ment Division of the chief quartermas- 
ter's office made detailed arrangements 
with French, Belgian, and Luxembourg 
authorities for the production and de- 

67 Ibid., p. 8; Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, 
IV, 76; TWX, SHAEF Mission to Belgium to 
SHAEF G-4, 6 Jan 45, SHAEF SGS 463.3 Coal 
Supply, I; Rpt of Mtg of Allied-French Working 
Party, 11 Oct 44, dated 14 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 
337 Conferences 1944. 

^Cbl R-57441, ADSEC to G-4 COMZ, 31 Jan 45, 
ETO Adm 406, ETO Cbls; CAO Mtg, 2 Feb 45, 
SHAEF AG 337-2 CAO Mtgs, 1945- 

86 Hist Rpt of TC ETO, VI (Jan-Mar 45), OCofT, 
142 A; TWX S-75146, SHAEF to COMZ et al, 15 
Jan 45, SHAEF SGS 463.3 Coal Supply, I. 

livery of fuel wood during the fall and 
winter months. Two logging camps be- 
gan operating in the Foret de Cerisy in 
Normandy as early as September, em- 
ploying prisoner of war labor, and addi- 
tional camps were eventually established 
in the Brittany, Loire, and Oise Sections. 

The project was not a spectacular suc- 
cess. The program was complicated by a 
lack of tools, equipment, and transporta- 
tion, by the necessity to provide housing 
for prisoners, by the inaccessibility of 
many of the camps, and, in addition, by 
unsatisfactory co-operation from civilian 
authorities. At the end of January 1945 
barely 36,000 cords of an original re- 
quirement of 1,000,000 had been pro- 
duced. Considering the labor expended 
in the production of a cord of wood, its 
fuel value, and the transportation in- 
volved, as compared with the effort re- 
quired in the production of coal, the 
endeavor was hardly economic. An at- 
tempt to supplement the meager supply 
of solid fuels by the production of peat 
was found to be even less worthwhile 
and was abandoned after a month of 
cutting in Normandy. 70 

Although coal imports more nearly 
equaled the targets in February 1945, 
combined imports and indigenous pro- 
duction never sufficed to meet the mini- 
mum essential civilian and military 
needs during the winter of 1944-45. 71 
SHAEF normally allocated only 65 to 
70 percent of the amounts requested by 
U.S. forces, and deliveries rarely ex- 
ceeded 50 percent of the total needs. 
Conservation measures adopted in the 

70 Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 73, 85- 
88; QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 162. 

71 CAO Mtg, 9 Mar 45, SHAEF AG 337-2 CAO 
Mtgs, 1945. 



fall of 1 944 consequently had to be 
strictly enforced. Original allowances for 
space heating were cut in half, and the 
use of coal for utilities in cities such as 
Paris was rationed to permit only a few 

hours of gas and electricity each day. 

"The original cold-weather factor of eight 
pounds per man per day was reduced to four. 
Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 75; COMZ 
G-4 History, V, 7. 


Supplying the Armies: Equipment 

(i) Class II and IV Shortages in General 

With the exception of a few critical 
items, the shortages in Class II and IV 
supplies in the combat zone, like the 
shortages in other classes, could initially 
be laid to the deficiencies of inland trans- 
portation. Class II and IV items were 
especially handicapped in this respect, 
for the staples of supply— gasoline, am- 
munition, and rations— had first call on 
available lift and replacement of de- 
stroyed or worn-out equipment had to 
be postponed as long as possible. In 
September, out of an average daily ton- 
nage allocation to the First Army of 
4,076 tons, only 442 tons could be as- 
signed to Class II and IV items, against 
which only 322 tons were actually de- 
livered. There was some improvement 
in October, but of an allocation of 5,880 
tons, Class II and IV supplies were still 
assigned less than 1,000 tons, against 
which deliveries came to 637. 1 Even 
these figures exaggerate actual perform- 
ance, for the receipts included many 
items which the Communications Zone 
added as "fillers" and which the armies 
had not requisitioned. Moreover, the 
true supply picture was distorted by the 
emphasis on tonnages at the expense of 
items. A ton of radio spare parts, as 

signal officers pointed out, could be 
worth 2,000 tons of pole line hardware. 2 
In September and October the armies' 
critical lists grew longer every week. 
Shortages initially resulting from inade- 
quate transportation were in many cases 
aggravated and perpetuated by unex- 
pected demands arising from the armies' 
advanced positions, by higher rates of 
attrition than originally expected, and 
finally by production shortfalls in the 
United States. Supply shortages were 
common to all the technical services, but 
the most serious ones were in the signal, 
engineer, quartermaster, and ordnance 

In the signal service the most per- 
sistent shortages which affected opera- 
tions were in radios, spare parts, bat- 
teries, and field wire. Field wire was 
used at the rate of about 66,000 miles 
per month when available, but shortages 
forced strict rationing and permitted 
allocations of barely half this amount. 
In November First Army reported 4,700 
miles on hand, which it calculated was 
sufficient for only one and one-half days 
of large-scale operations, and reported 
shortages of between 10,000 and 17,000 
miles. By contrast, Seventh Army listed 
normal requirements of only 250 miles 

1 TUSA AARs, Sep, p. 59, and Oct, p. 55-56. 

2 TUSA AAR, II, Sig, 10. 



per day, which were being met to the 
extent of only 30 miles. 3 

In the engineer service the shortage 
of bridging provided an example of un- 
expected demand arising from the ar- 
mies* advanced positions. Third Army 
successively crossed the Marne, Meuse, 
and Moselle in addition to smaller 
streams in September, and in that one 
month built 52 treadway, 6 heavy pon- 
ton, 2 infantry support, 1 70 timber 
trestle, and 67 Bailey bridges. Demoli- 
tions were more and more extensive as 
the advance slowed down, and in the 
area of the XII Corps, southeast of 
Chalons, all bridges over the main 
streams had to be reconstructed. 

Shortages of tactical bridging made it 
imperative that Bailey bridges be re- 
placed as rapidly as possible by more 
permanent structures so that the tactical 
bridging could be shipped forward 
and reused. Although relatively small 
amounts of tactical bridging were 
needed in October, when operations al- 
most came to a standstill, both First and 
Third Armies took the opportunity to 
replace temporary bridges with more 
permanent timber structures. To meet 
the requirements for lumber for this 
purpose Third Army alone placed con- 
tracts with twenty-one French mills. Late 
in October the armies again called for 
large shipments of bridging and stream- 
crossing equipment in preparation for 
a possible break-through to the Rhine 
in the coming offensive. By that time the 
forward shipment of supplies had been 
complicated by an additional factor— 

3 TUSA AAR, II, Sig, 11-13; FUSA R P l of °P ns > 
1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. Ill, p. 178; SUSA Rpt of 
Opns, III, 878; COMZ History, I, 51-52. 

mud— which made some of the stocks in 
the Normandy depots inaccessible. 4 

The shortage of paper also proved a 
major engineer supply problem, for the 
demand for maps exceeded all expecta- 
tions. French paper stocks were far from 
adequate, and engineers eventually 
printed about 10,000,000 maps on the 
reverse side of captured German maps. 5 

In the quartermaster service clothing, 
tentage, and mess equipment, including 
stoves, were the most persistent short- 
ages. The supply of quartermaster Class 
II and IV items, like that in the other 
services, first presented difficulties in 
August with the inability of transporta- 
tion to meet the demands growing out 
of the unexpected tactical developments. 
Class II and IV supplies were relegated 
to positions low on the priority list as 
long as gasoline, rations, and ammuni- 
tion remained the more urgent needs. 
In September, of 54,200 tons offloaded 
in the ports, only 15,400 were cleared, 
leaving a backlog of nearly 40,000 tons. 
By December the backlog had grown to 
88,600 tons. 6 Of a total average lift of 
4,076 tons allocated to the First Army 
in September, only 102 tons were ear- 
marked for quartermaster Class II and 
IV supplies, and the average daily de- 
livery during the month was only 39 
tons. 7 

4 TUSA AAR, II, Engr, 6, 10; Ltr, NUSA to 12 
A Gp, 4 Nov 44, sub: Supply of Stream-Crossing 
Equipage, with Inds, 12 A Gp to COMZ, 6 Nov 

44, and COMZ to 12 A Gp, 24 Nov 44, EUCOM 
475, Equipment of Troops, River Crossings. 

5 COMZ G-4, History, I, 51-52. 

6 QM Supply Opns on the Continent, Sec. IV of 
Study, Supply of Winter Clothing to ETO, prep 
for Col Charles Garside by the CQM ETO, 17 Apr 

45, with supporting papers as exhibits, in ASF, Dir 
of Mat, Pur Div. 

7 FUSA AAR, 1-30 Sep 44, p. 59. 



Meanwhile shortages originally caused 
by the inadequacy of inland transporta- 
tion were made more accute by port 
discharge deficiencies and to a lesser ex- 
tent by the inability to move stocks 
across the Channel from the United 
Kingdom. At the end of September 
there were seventy-five ships in the the- 
ater commodity-loaded with all types of 
quartermaster supplies, for which only 
fourteen berths were available. At the 
end of October the theater had eighty 
such ships and only eighteen berths in 
which they could be worked. 8 Backlogs 
of quartermaster supplies, both in 
loaded ships and stored in the port areas, 
continued high even after Antwerp's 
opening, and were not completely elimi- 
nated until February 1945. 

The shortage of coaster shipping 
for cross-Channel movement meanwhile 
voided the planned reduction of U.K. 
stocks. Receipts from the United King- 
dom in August totaled 29,000 tons, rep- 
resenting but 53 percent of the 55,000 
tons allocated. General Littlejohn ap- 
preciated the reasons for deferring the 
movement of Class II and IV supplies in 
the first few months. But early in Sep- 
tember he became concerned with the 
possible effects on winterization require- 
ments. On 7 September he informed 
General Lee that the month's Class II 
and IV quartermaster lift requirements 
alone totaled 56,750 tons, 10,000 of 
which were needed for the movement 
of winter clothing, 10,350 tons for winter 
tentage, 29,500 for combat maintenance, 
and 900 tons of clothing for prisoners 
of war. The issue of winter clothing, he 
insisted, had to be completed by 1 

8 Study of 17 Apr 45, 

October if the fighting efficiency of 
troops was to be maintained. 

Littlejohn proposed to carry out the 
winterization program by a 6,000-ton 
airlift, partially from the United King- 
dom and partially from Normandy Base 
Section, and by shipments via LST and 
small coasters to Brittany ports, to a dis- 
charge point in the Seine, and to a rail 
connection in the Calais area. 9 General 
Stratton immediately turned down the 
request for air transport and ruled out 
most of the other proposals as infeasible 
at the moment. Cross-Channel tonnage 
allocations at the time were dictated 
largely by what the 12th Army Group 
decided should be moved forward on 
the Continent, and in view of the cur- 
rent tactical situation and attendant op- 
timism concerning a quick end to the 
fighting there was little likelihood that 
the field commands would favor a di- 
version of transportation, including air- 
lift, from the movement of gasoline to 
the movement of clothing. 10 

General Littlejohn persisted in em- 
phasizing the urgency of the winteriza- 
tion program, however, and shortly 
thereafter put the issue of the needed 
allocations directly up to General Brad- 
ley. 11 The change in the tactical situa- 
tion in the next few weeks, while it 
brought no immediate improvement in 
transport, permitted a shift in emphasis. 
Late in the month the chief quartermas- 
ter reached an agreement with the the- 

9 Ltr, Littlejohn to Lee, 7 Sep 44, sub: Tonnage 
from U.K. to Continent, 12 A Gp Tonnage 137. 

10 Memo, Stratton for Littlejohn, 8 Sep 44, sub: 
Tonnage Lift From U.K., Sec. IV of Study of 17 
Apr 45. 

11 Ltr, Littlejohn to Stratton, 9 Sep 44, sub: Trans- 
portation for QM Supplies, Exhibit G to Sec. IV 
of Study of 17 Apr 45. 



ater G-4 on plans for shipping clothing 
from the United Kingdom to the Con- 
tinent and for its movement to the 
forward areas. The operation finally got 
under way in the first week of October, 
and on the 1 3th General Littlejohn 
announced that the winter clothing and 
equipment then available in the theater 
had been delivered to the armies. Ap- 
proximately 6,500 tons of clothing over- 
shoes, blankets, and other equipment 
were moved forward, 41 percent of it 
by air. 12 

(2) The Case of the Winter Uniform 

Transportation was only one aspect 
of the winterization problem. Behind 
this problem lay more basic shortcom- 
ings, particularly with respect to winter 
clothing. Viewed in retrospect, it is clear 
that planning and decision-making in 
both the War Department and the the- 
ater, as well as co-ordination between 
the two, left something to be desired. 

A controversy eventually developed 
over winter clothing that involved ques- 
tions of both quality and quantity. In- 
adequacies of the winter uniform in 
Europe on both counts were several 
times brought to the attention of the 
public via the newspapers. Critical ar- 
ticles appearing in January and Febru- 
ary 1945— particularly one in the Wash- 
ington Post— finally evoked an angry 
blast from General Littlejohn, who 
charged that a malicious campaign had 
been launched to discredit him. The 
articles precipitated one of the most acri- 

12 Outfitting the Soldier, Vol. Ill of Quarter- 
master Supply in the ETO in World War II, 280- 
84, and App. XXXIII, MS, OCMH; Sec. IV of 
Study of 17 Apr 45; SHAEF G-4 Basic Statistical 
Rpt 2, 14 Oct 44, in SHAEF G-4 War Diary/Jnl, 
Exec Br. 

monious intraservice squabbles of the 
entire war, and finally led to an inves- 
tigation. 13 

The Washington Post article had 
given due recognition to such factors as 
the abnormal severity of the 1944-45 
winter in Europe, the unexpectedly high 
attrition of clothing during the summer 
and fall, and the unfortunate habits of 
American soldiers regarding the proper 
fitting of clothing. But the article struck 
a sensitive spot in implying that the 
theater had placed its orders too late to 
ensure adequate early winter protection 
against wet cold weather and that it had 
failed to adopt combat-tested items rec- 
ommended by the War Department. 
Most of the controversy over winter 
clothing centered on these two closely 
related points. 14 

U.S. forces had already experienced 
the distress of operating without ade- 
quate clothing. In the winter of 1943-44 
the Fifth Army in Italy had found the 

13 The Washington Post article, written by George 
Connery and titled "U.S. Western Front Clothing: 
A Factual Report/' appeared on 18 February 1945. 
Dispatches from other correspondents in Europe 
had appeared in various papers beginning in Oc- 
tober, implying criticism of the War Department, 
and had caused General Somervell to ask the 
theater for explanations. Cbl 4102, Somervell to 
Lee, 14 Oct 44, CofS ASF, ETO 1944; Cbl WAR- 
24746, AGWAR to Somervell, 23 Jan 45, ETO Cbls, 
ETO Adm 405; Cbl WAR-38662, AGWAR to Lee, 
17 Feb 45, ETO Adm 408; Ltr, Littlejohn to Somer- 
vell, 2 Mar 45, Hq ASF, Somervell file, ETO 1945. 

14 A follow-up article, written by Edward T. Fol- 
liard and titled "Trench Foot Scourge Ends, But 
Many Yanks Still Are Hospitalized," appeared in 
the Washington Post on 4 March 1945 and dealt 
primarily with the causes of trench foot and the 
problem of adequate footgear. It included replies 
by General Littlejohn to the claim that the theater 
had not requisitioned overshoes and shoepacs early 
enough, but did not retract statements made in 
the Connery article. 



then standard field uniform inadequate 
to protect its troops fighting in the 
mountains around Naples. 15 Meanwhile, 
The Quartermaster General had devel- 
oped a simplified uniform, based on the 
layering principle, and adaptable to 
combat wear in cold wet climates, which 
the Army Ground Forces had approved 
for standardization, "subject to minor 
modifications/' as early as March 1943. 16 
Late in February 1944, The Quarter- 
master General sent Capt. William F. 
Pounder, an officer in the Research and 
Development Branch, Military Planning 
Division, OQMG, to England to famil- 
iarize ETOUSA officials with the new 
items and explain their advantages. The 
items recommended had undergone tests 
in either the continental United States 
or Alaska, and they were now sent to the 
Mediterranean theater as well where 
they were tested on troops of the 3d 
Infantry Division in the Anzio beach- 
head. While the Italian test was not ex- 
haustive, particularly from the point of 
view of performance in, severe weather, 
the Mediterranean theater found the 
new uniform far superior to the combi- 
nation then in use and eventually 
equipped the three divisions that it pro- 
vided for the Seventh Army, which op- 
erated in France the following winter, as 

15 Ltr, Brig Gen Joseph P. Sullivan, Army QM 
Fifth Army, to Littlejohn, 28 Jan 43, Littlejohn 
Reading File. 

16 Memo, McNair for CofS, 10 Mar 43, copy of 
this and other pertinent documents in Supply of 
Clothing and Equipment to ETO, 1944, Pt. 4— 
Documentation (Corresp and Special Rpts), dated 
5 Apr 45; ASF OQMG File A45-280, Drawer 7. 
For a discussion of the new winter uniform pro- 
posed by TQMG, see Erna Risch, The Quarter- 
master Corps: Organization, Supply, and Services, 
WAR II (Washington, 1953), pp. 88-97. 

well as the Fifth Army, with the new 
clothing. 17 

The main items recommended which 
distinguished the proposed uniform 
from the one then in use were the 
M 1 943 sateen field jacket, the high- 
neck wool sweater, the combat service 
boot, the shoepac, and the leather glove 
with wool insert. General Littlejohn 
had already had a preview of the new 
items on a visit to the United States 
in November 1943, and they evoked 
considerable interest when they were 
shown to the chief quartermaster and 
his staff in the United Kingdom. The 
Mi 943 field jacket, a wind- and water- 
repellent garment with a pile liner 
which could be worn over a jacket or 
sweater in cold weather and which be- 
came the item of greatest controversy, 
was initially well received, since it was 
to replace the unsatisfactory 1941 Par- 
sons jacket. But General Littlejohn was 
not satisfied with the production figures 
which Captain Pounder was able to fur- 
nish and, lacking assurance that the new 
jacket would be delivered in sufficient 
quantities to dress units uniformly, 
stated that he would make no special 
effort to procure it. 18 Pounder continued 
to press for decisions on various articles 
he had brought with him, and advised 
early requisition of accepted items. But 

17 Rad CM-IN, 1 Jun 44, Protective Clothing, CG 
U.S. Army Forces in NATO to WD ^F-53022, 
signed Devers, 31 May 44. Copies of this and other 
papers on supply of winter clothing to NATOUSA 
are in ASF OQMG Folder. Supply of Clothing and 
Equipment to ETO, 5 Apr 45, 205.03 A 45-280, 
Drawer G 1616. 

18 Ltr, Pounder to Col Georges F. Doriot, Chief 
Research and Dev Br, Mil Ping Div OCQM, 29 
Mar 44, Study, Supply of Clothing and Equipment 
to the ETO, 5 Apr 45, QMG, ASF Dir of Mat, Pur 



General Dwight D. Eisenhower 
wearing the Eisenhower jacket, Paris, 
August i p44* 

he was unsuccessful, and he eventually 
returned to the United States. 19 

While the theater quartermaster in- 
itially rejected the new Mi 943 jacket 
on the ground of uncertainty as to its 
availability, other considerations appear 
to have influenced his decision. A new 
waist-length wool jacket, designed to re- 
place the wool serge coat and to double 
for combat and dress, had been under 
development in both the United States 
and the theater for some time. 20 Theater 

19 Rpt, Dev of Cold Climate Clothing, prep by 
Pounder for Doriot, 1 1 Oct 44, in Study of 5 Apr 45. 

20 See Erna Risch and Thomas M. Pitkin, Cloth- 
ing the Soldier of World War II, QMC Historical 
Studies, 16 (September, 1946), pp. 54-58 for the 
history of the development of both the wool field 
jacket and the M1943 jacket. 

commanders, including General Eisen- 
hower, desired a wool jacket resembling 
the one that was part of the widely ad- 
mired English "battle dress," and Gen- 
eral Bradley, in March, expressed his 
opinion that such a jacket, made of 
rough wool, would be warm enough to 
protect a soldier in combat without an 
outer jacket or overcoat. In any case, it 
could be worn in cold wet weather 
under the loose-fitting Mi 943 jacket if 
this became available, and the theater 
now urged the War Department to 
adopt the type of wool jacket it desired. 21 
In mid-March 1944 it asked for 4,259,000 
of these jackets to be delivered by the 
end of 1944. Early the next month, on a 
visit to the United States, General Little- 
john obtained acceptance of the basic 
design of the new short wool jacket, and 
after his return to London the War De- 
partment notified the theater that it 
had settled on the design of the jacket 
and scheduled shipments of 2,600,000 
in the last quarter of 1944. 22 

The War Department had never in- 
tended, however, that the "Eisenhower 
jacket," as the ETO model was later 
called, should replace the new Mi 943 
jacket. In May it informed the theater 
that the latter, worn in combination 
with the high-neck wool sweater, had 

21 Ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, forwarded to 
TQMG by Somervell; Extract from Incl 4, Tem- 
perate Zone Clothing: Jacket Field Wool, 2d Ind 
Brig Gen Herman Feldman (SPQR 400.34 T/E 
21), ASF OQMG, 13 Mar 44, to Dir Mob Div ASF, 
photostats in Summary of Action Taken to Supply 
Winter Clothing to ETO; Gen Gregory's Personal 
File, Hist Br OQMG; Memo given Capt Pounder 
by Lt Col Cohen, ETO, 8 Mar 44; and Ltr, Pounder 
to Doriot, 29 Mar 44, photostats of both in Supply 
of Clothing and Equipment to ETO 1944. 

22 Risch and Pitkin, Clothing the Soldier of World 
War II. 



been approved and was intended to re- 
place the old Parsons jacket. Because 
of decreasing stocks and size shortages 
of the old 1941 jacket, shipments of the 
Mi 943 were already being set up against 
requisitions from the theater. But the 
theater now made it clear that it did 
not desire the Mi 943 jacket, except in 
limited numbers for parachutists, and 
it called attention to an agreement 
which General Littlejohn had reached 
with General Clay of the Requirements 
Division, ASF, during his visit to the 
United States in April under which the 
old-type field jackets were to be supplied 
pending the initial deliveries of the new 
Eisenhower jacket. 23 

Obviously concerned over the possible 
consequences of the theater's decisions, 
the War Department asked that the mat- 
ter be checked with Supreme Headquar- 
ters. The War Department met General 
Littlejohn's original objection by assur- 
ing the theater that it could have the 
1943 jacket, presumably in the needed 
quantities, if it so desired. 24 A few days 
later Maj. Gen. Edmund B. Gregory, 
The Quartermaster General, forwarded a 
study prepared by the Research and De- 
velopment Branch summarizing all the 
data then available from field and lab- 
oratory tests on the merits of the various 
items. General Gregory left no doubt of 
his misgivings over the adequacy of the 
theater s proposed winter uniform, 
which consisted of the wool field jacket, 
the overcoat, and the raincoat: the rain- 
coat, he said, could not be considered 

- :i Study, Wind Resistant Jacket, Sec. VI of papers 
supporting Littlejohn letter of 2 Mar 45, ASF Div 
of Mat, Prod and Pur Div; Cbl E-28364, ETO to 
WD, 18 May 44, Study of 5 Apr 45, QMG ASF. 

24 Cbl WAR-39574, Clay to Lee, 20 May 44, Study 
of 5 Apr 45, QMG ASF. 

a combat garment; the overcoat pro- 
vided entirely inadequate protection 
against rain and wind, as had been 
amply demonstrated in Italy; and the 
combined bulk and weight of the rain- 
coat and overcoat seriously impaired the 
mobility of the soldier. ETOUSA's re- 
jection of both the 1943 jacket and the 
high-neck sweater, in Gregory's words, 
' 'would leave troops [in the European 
theater] without any garment designed 
for efficiency in wet cold climates. " 25 

The theater nevertheless on 1 June 
confirmed its earlier decision on the 
1943 jacket, although it now decided to 
accept the high-neck sweater. Both Gen- 
erals Bradley and Hodges, according to 
the theater quartermaster, had con- 
cluded that the overcoat was a necessary 
part of the winter uniform, and Gen- 
erals Smith and Crawford at SHAEF 
had concurred in these recommenda- 
tions. Two weeks later the theater placed 
a requisition for 2,250,000 of the sweat- 
ers, of which the New York Port agreed 
to deliver 1,750,000 by September. 26 

Officers in the Research and Devel- 
opment Branch of the OQMG were 
clearly disturbed over the theater's de- 
cision. Col. Georges F. Doriot, chief of 
the branch, pointing out that the winter 
climate of northeastern France and Bel- 
gium was similar to that of Italy, pre- 
dicted a repetition of the experience of 

25 Ltr, Gregory to ACofS OPD WD, 25 May 44, 
sub: Clothing Efficiency, ETO, Study of 5 Apr 45, 

20 Cbl EU30871, ETO to WD, 1 Jun 44, Pt. Ill 
(Documentation), Study of 5 Apr 45, QMG ASF; 
Study, Wind Resistant Jacket, Sec. VI of papers 
supporting the Littlejohn ltr of 2 Mar 45, ASF 
Dir of Mat, Prod and Pur Div; Cbl, EX 33226, CG 
ETOUSA to CG NYPE, 15 Jun 44, no sub; ASF 
Pur Div Files, Supply of Clothing and Equipment 



American troops in Italy during the pre- 
ceding winter, if ETOUSA persisted in 
adopting a uniform which, in his opin- 
ion, had already been proved inade- 
quate. Captain Pounder likewise had 
emphasized to the theater quartermaster 
the point that the area in which U.S. 
troops could be expected to be operat- 
ing fell into the wet cold classification 
and warned that U.S. troops would be 
improperly clothed unless such items 
as shoepacs, ski socks, and the woolen 
sleeping bag, in addition to the 1943 
jacket, were adopted. In view of 
ETOUSA's recent communications, how- 
ever, the OQMG had no choice but 
to eliminate requirements for the 1943 
jacket for the European theater except 
for the limited needs for parachutists, 
and to divert production to other items. 27 
On 20 June the theater startled the 
OQMG with an urgent request for all 
available information on winter cloth- 
ing for operations in cold wet climates, 
information which the War Department 
had sought with indifferent success to 
have the theater consider earlier. Colo- 
nel Doriot promptly forwarded the de- 
sired data and took the opportunity to 
urge the theater chief quartermaster 
again to accept the Mi 943 jacket and 
to issue it in addition to the high-neck 
sweater and wool field jacket. Without 
it, he warned, the front-line soldier 
would not be adequately protected 
against cold wet conditions. Both the 
overcoat and the raincoat, he pointed 
out, had failed to meet this requirement 

27 Ltr, Doriot to Rqmt Div ASF, 3 Jun 44, sub: 
Secret Radiogram CM 157 dated 1 Jun 44, Protec- 
tive Clothing; Memo for Record Only, Doriot, n.d.; 
and Ltr, Pounder to Doriot, 30 Jun 44, all in 
Study of 5 Apr 45, QMG ASF. 

where mobility was desired. Time was 
already running desperately short for 
getting production under way which 
would meet ETOUSA's needs for the 
coming winter. 28 But nothing came of 
this exchange, at least for the moment, 
and a note of resentment at the War 
Department's repeated urgings was in- 
dicated in General Littlejohn's remark 
early in July that it was not his policy 
"to force these new items down the 
throat of troops." 29 

General Littlejohn held high hopes at 
first of getting the required quantities 
of the much desired Eisenhower jacket. 
But deliveries of both finished garments 
and cloth from the United States lagged 
from the start, and prospects of meeting 
the original commitment faded rapidly. 
Early in July the chief quartermaster 
concluded that it would be at least six 
months before a sizable number of 
troops could be supplied with the new 
jacket. 30 Nevertheless, he refrained from 
making any requests which might divert 
production from that program. Pending 
receipt of the new jacket, therefore, he 
preferred to take substitutes, such as the 
obsolescent Parsons jacket and even the 
wool serge blouse, rather than accept the 
newer 1943 jacket, receipts of which he 
claimed were already complicating his 
supply situation. Early in July he asked 
the War Department to ship the entire 

28 Ltr, Doriot to Littlejohn, 24 Jun 44, sub: Con- 
fidential Radio E-39902, Study of 17 Apr 45; Dev 
of Cold Climate Clothing, 11 Oct 44, by Pounder, 
Study of 5 Apr 45; Study, The Supply of Quarter- 
master Clothing, Subsistence, and Equipment to the 
ETO, 5 Jan 45, prep in OQMG for Somervell, Hq 
ASF QMC Reference Book. 

29 Study, The Supply of Quartermaster Clothing 
...» 5 Jan 45- 

30 Memo, Littlejohn for G-i, 12 Jul 44, Littlejohn 
Reading File. 



remaining stock of 479,000 of the old 
1041 jackets to the European theater. 31 

The chief quartermaster had also 
placed great emphasis, as had General 
Eisenhower, on the desirability of hav- 
ing a dressy uniform, and was hopeful 
throughout the summer that this re- 
quirement would be met by the new 
wool jacket. His concern over appear- 
ance in fact led him to protest repeat- 
edly against the shipment of trousers of 
a lighter shade which did not match 
the jacket. 32 

Littlejohn's determination on this 
point was encouraged by the course of 
tactical operations after the breakout at 
the end of July. The mounting optimism 
of the next few weeks was soon reflected 
in theater supply policy. The OCQM 
expressed its confidence as early as 15 
August that the war would not go into 
another winter. On that date it sub- 
mitted a requisition to the War Depart- 
ment for winter clothing specially de- 
signed for severe cold for one field army 
—353,000 men— but purely as a precau- 
tionary measure and not in anticipation 
of any need arising from tactical devel- 
opments. 33 

The decision not to requisition spe- 
cial winter clothing earlier had been 
deliberate and understandable. The the- 

31 Study, Wind Resistant Jacket, ASF Dir of Mat, 
Prod and Pur Div. 

32 Eisenhower ltr cited n. 21; Ltrs, Littlejohn to 
Gregory, 4 Sep 44, and Littlejohn to Feldman, 14 
Sep 44, Littlejohn Reading File, Army War College 

33 Cbl EX-43895, COMZ to AGWAR, 15 Aug 44, 
copy in Outfitting the Soldier, App. XXX; Sees. I 
(Planning) and III (Requisitions), Study of 17 Apr 
45. The issue of "special winter clothing," desig- 
nated as "arctic (cold -wet)," was based on an al- 
lowance of such clothing which a theater com- 
mander was authorized to draw in anticipation of 
exceptional climatic conditions. 

ater chief quartermaster had decided on 
the basis of an analysis of the climatic 
map of Europe that no special cold 
climate clothing would be needed. A 
comparison of the climatic map with the 
expected rate of the Allied advance 
showed that U.S. forces would not enter 
the "cold wet" area, beginning roughly 
with the Ardennes, until D plus 330, 
or May 1945. But the phase lines on 
which those plans had been based rep- 
resented the course of operations as ex- 
pected before D Day and hardly con- 
stituted a valid basis for planning in 
mid-August. 34 

The mid-August requisition, accord- 
ing to the OQMG in Washington, was 
already one month late in arriving, 
judged by the theater's own policy rec- 
ommendation on the requisitioning of 
winter clothing. 35 More important than 
the tardiness of the order, however, was 
its size, which appeared far too small to 
the OQMG. But when the War Depart- 
ment queried the theater and pointed 
out that the size of the requisition would 
result in production cutbacks, the thea- 
ter on 5 September confirmed the re- 
quisition. 36 General Littlejohn expressed 
his own optimism at this time in a 
personal letter to General Gregory, in 
which he wrote: "You and I know that 

34 Sees. I (Planning) and III (Requisitions), Study 
of 17 Apr 45. 

36 Study, Cold Climate Clothing, Sec. IV of pa- 
pers supporting Littlejohn ltr of 2 Mar 45, ASF 
Dir of Mat, Prod and Pur Div, 

30 Ltr, Feldman, DQMG, to CG SOS, 21 Aug 44, 
sub: Requisitions and Current Army Supply Pro- 
gram Anticipated Shipments, Study of 5 Apr 45; 
Study, Requisitions, Sec. I of papers supporting 
Littlejohn ltr of 2 Mar 45, ASF Dir of Mat, Prod 
and Pur Div. 

Serving a Hot Meal to Cold Infantrymen, Belgium, January 1945. Note cloth 
overshoes worn by the men. 

the serious fighting cannot long con- 
tinue." 37 

The confidence which these messages 
reflected was not confined to the office 
of the ETOUSA quartermaster. Head- 
quarters, Communications Zone, had 
asked all the supply services to review 
their requirements and prepare stop or- 
ders in anticipation of the expected end 
of hostilities. The chief quartermaster 
even took measures to control the issue 
of winter clothing to ensure that occu- 
pation troops would be the first to get it. 

The halt of the pursuit in mid-Sep- 
tember and the prospect of winter oper- 

87 Ltr, Littlejohn to Gregory, 4 Sep 44, Littlejohn 
Reading File. 

ations gradually dissipated the rampant 
optimism which had begun to influence 
supply policy. Moreover, the slowing 
down in operations brought to light a 
new factor to complicate the supply of 
clothing— the discovery that maintenance 
and replacement factors had been far 
from adequate. During the pursuit, Gen- 
eral Littlejohn pointed out, it had been 
impossible to obtain accurate data on 
either stocks on hand or consumption. 
Now it was found that wear and tear 
had been much heavier than expected 
in units constantly on the move, and 
that men had lost or discarded large 
quantities of individual equipment de- 
spite attempts to enforce supply disci- 



pline. General Littlejohn estimated that 
the consumption of major items of cloth- 
ing and equipment had been at a rate 
two and one half times that prescribed 
by War Department maintenance fac- 
tors. 38 

With this additional argument the 
ETOUSA quartermaster on 18 Septem- 
ber placed the first of several requests 
for large quantities of winter clothing 
and equipment, asserting that he was 
now confronted with the necessity of 
completely re-equipping a minimum of 
one million men, about 100,000 French 
territorials, and a large number of pris- 
oners of war. He asked that the supplies 
be made available for distribution on 
the Continent not later than 10 Oc- 
tober. 39 In the next two weeks the the- 
ater made an appeal for additional quan- 
tities of winter equipment, including 
blankets and sleeping bags. The shortage 
of blankets was especially critical, hav- 
ing been aggravated by the large number 
of prisoners (300,000 at the time). On 
10 October the theater quartermaster 
indicated that an additional 500,000 
men would have to be re-equipped 
within the next sixty days. 40 

Much as it deplored the theater's 
resort to emergency requisitioning, there 
was little the War Department could 
now do but attempt to meet what appar- 
ently were legitimate needs. General 

38 Ltr, Littlejohn to Feldman, 4 Sep 44, Ltr, 
Littlejohn to Gregory, 18 Sep 44, sub: Rqmts of 
Winter Clothing for ETO, Ltr, Littlejohn to Col 
Ira K. Evans, 18 Sep 44, and Ltr, Maj Gen W. M. 
Goodman to Col H. A. Malin, 8 Oct 44, all in 
Study of 5 Apr 45. 

39 Memo, Littlejohn for Gregory, 18 Sep 44. 

40 Teletype Conf between London and NYPOE, 
1 Oct 44, Study of 5 Apr 45; Cbl EX-53583, CQM 
to AG WAR, 10 Oct 44, EUCOM 400 Supplies, Serv- 
ices, and Equipment, IV. 

Gregory assured the theater quartermas- 
ter that his office would do everything 
possible to provide men in the Euro- 
pean theater with a serviceable uniform 
from stocks available in the United 
States, although he could not promise 
to provide matched items for "prome- 
nades on the streets of Paris/' He also 
took the occasion to remind the 
ETOUSA quartermaster of the efforts 
which the OQMG had made to supply 
the theater with adequate equipment. 
"As you know/' he wrote, "my office has 
on several occasions made definite rec- 
ommendations to you as to the proper 
uniform required for the climate in 
which you are now operating. In addi- 
tion to these recommendations being 
made from a climatology point of view, 
they were also made from a production 
point of view, considering the over-all 
size and deployment of the United States 
Army." 41 

The reference to production sug- 
gested that the emergency requisitions 
for large amounts of winter clothing 
would not be easily met on such short 
notice. The Requirements Branch of 
OQMG pointed out that between 18 
September and 1 October the theater 
had requested 850,000 overcoats after 
indicating in August that it needed only 
45,000 in addition to those previously 
shipped. At the end of July the theater 
stated a need for 450,000 overshoes for 
the remainder of the year, which, with 
those already in stock would have per- 
mitted issue to 75 percent of the troops. 
But in the last week of September the 
theater had suddenly placed a demand 
for an additional 1,173,000 pairs. Calls 

41 Ltr, Gregory to Littlejohn, 28 Sep 44, Study of 
5 A P r 45- 



were also made for 2,900,000 wool 
drawers and 2,500,000 wool undershirts 
over and above previous requests for 

The War Department was able to fill 
the 18 September requisition with little 
trouble, although it drained U.S. stocks 
in many items. Filling the subsequent 
requests required certain substitutions, 
including some used overshoes, 43 and led 
The Quartermaster General to ask the 
theater quartermaster to review all 
woolen clothing requirements and to 
make as many reductions as possible. He 
warned that any additional requests 
would have to be accompanied by de- 
tailed justification. 44 

In mid-October the theater submitted 
the first of several recommended revis- 
ions of replacement factors and asked 
for approval of requisitions based on the 
new tables. Most of the new factors ex- 
ceeded those currently authorized by 
100 to 150 percent and were greeted 
with a critical eye in the OQMG, Re- 
quests for such changes almost invari- 
ably precipitated a long argument be- 
tween the theater and the War Depart- 
ment. The War Department's hesitancy 
about approving increases was inspired 
in part by the belief that a basic mis- 
understanding existed on the part of 
theater officials as to the purpose of re- 
placement factors. The War Department 
had repeatedly contended that excessive 

42 Memo, Chief Rqmts Br Mil Ping Div ASF for 
Dir of Mil Ping Div, 4 Oct 44, sub: Winter Cloth- 
ing and Equipment for the ETO, Study of 5 Apr 
45; Special Rpt prep by Tech Info Br, 11 Nov 44, 
Study of 5 Apr 45. 

43 Memo, Gregory for CofS, 3 Nov 44, sub: Req- 
uisitions for the ETO, OPD 400 ETO Sec. IV, 
Cases 109-22. 

44 Outfitting the Soldier, p. 285. 

consumption for short periods of time 
did not warrant radical revisions. Re- 
placement factors, it emphasized, were 
not established to meet the needs arising 
from temporary fluctuations in con- 
sumption, but rather the average losses 
or maintenance needs over a long period 
of time. Replacement factors were used 
for procurement or production plan- 
ning, especially for items having a long 
lead time, and there was an understand- 
able reluctance to change them unless 
a definite long-term trend was indicated. 
Excessive losses resulting from unusual 
and nonrecurring situations, the War 
Department insisted, should be met 
through special requisitions. It was par- 
ticularly hesitant to permit upward re- 
visions for winter clothing items in 
which it suspected that initial issue re- 
quirements had entered into the thea- 
ter's demands. Troops were only begin- 
ning to wear the overcoat, for example, 
for which a 100 percent increase in the 
replacement factor was requested. The 
War Department consequently refused 
to give blanket approval to the theater's 
requests for increases. Subsequent rec- 
ommendations submitted by the theater 
in November and December were also 
partially rejected. 45 

Deliveries made against the September 
and October requisitions were largely 
completed by mid-December. Mean- 
while, receipts of the wool jacket, which 

45 Memo, Gilmer for Handy, 16 Oct 44, sub: 
Emergency Winter Clothing Rqmt in ETO, OPD 
400 ETO Sec. Ill, Cases 109-22; Outfitting the 
Soldier, pp. 50-53, 286-87; Study, Maintenance 
Factors, Sec. Ill of papers supporting Littlejohn 
ltr of 2 Mar 45, with atchd documents, ASF Dir of 
Mat, Prod and Pur Div; Special Rpt prep for 
Gregory by Tech Info Br OQMG, 1 1 Nov 44, Study 
of 5 Apr 45. 



the theater so ardently desired, had not 
risen above a trickle. 46 Production of the 
Eisenhower jacket had encountered one 
difficulty after another, and it became 
more and more evident in the fall that 
the War Department would not meet its 
commitments to deliver 2,600,000 by the 
end of the year. In mid-September only 
14,000 had been shipped against a sched- 
uled delivery of 500,000 in that month. 47 
Despite this disappointing performance, 
General Littlejohn continued to omit 
the Mi 943 jacket from the list of accept- 
able substitutes. On 2 October he asked 
for an additional 1,500,000 of the old 
Parsons jackets, but had to accept some 
substitutes, including wool serge over- 
coats. Troops expressed a strong dislike 
for the overcoat, however, frequently 
discarding it in fast-moving situations, 
and at the end of the month the chief 
quartermaster acknowledged that it was 
unsatisfactory as a combat garment and 
canceled his earlier acceptance of it as 
a substitute for the 1941 jacket. Faced 
with shortages in the wool jacket and 
the rejection of the overcoat, the chief 
quartermaster now asked the New York 
Port for 800,000 Mi 943 jackets to meet 
deficiencies in all types of jackets to the 
end of 1944. The War Department im- 
mediately assured him that practically 

4C Outfitting the Soldier, p. 289. 

47 The jackets eventually delivered to the theater 
were held in the United Kingdom, and no whole- 
sale issue was made until after V-E Day. Whether 
the jacket would have served its intended purpose 
in the European theater was never determined. Ex- 
perience in the Mediterranean theater later re- 
vealed that troops never regarded the jacket as a 
component part of the field uniform. They pre- 
ferred to regard it as a dress item, to be worn on 
furlough or in rest areas, and for that reason also 
tended to fit it too snugly to be worn over the 
sweater. Risch and Pitkin, Clothing the Soldier of 
World War U, p. 58. 

Parsons Jacket 1941 is worn by Field 
Artillery men, Belgium, January 1945. 

the entire requisition could be filled. 48 
Despite efforts to expedite the delivery 
of clothing called for in the September 
and October requisitions, front-line 
troops fought through a large part of 
the winter inadequately clothed. Third 
Army reported in November that 60 
percent of its troops lacked sweaters, 50 
percent lacked a fourth blanket, and 20 
percent lacked overshoes in the proper 
size. Smaller percentages needed jackets 
and raincoats. 49 The problem became 

48 Ltr, Littlejohn to QMG ASF, 31 Oct 44, sub: 
Quartermaster Supply Situation in ETO, Study of 
5 A P r 45> Study, Wind Resistant Jacket, ASF Dir 
of Mat, Prod and Pur Div; Cbl S-76466, SHAEF to 
AGWAR, 24 Jan 45, SHAEF G-4 War Diary /Jnl. 

49 Maj Paul A. Siple, Report on the Adequacy of 
Winter Clothing in the ETO, 1944—45, 12 May 45* 
DCofS file, 420 ETO; TUSA AAR II, QM, 10. 



most acute in December when the 
weather turned bitterly cold and damp. 
Frantic efforts were made to supply 
clothing which would provide the neces- 
sary protection. Uniformity and stand- 
ardization consequently went out the 
window, for troops wore what was avail- 
able, including arctic and limited stand- 
ard items. Lack of a suitable outer gar- 
ment led them to don additional woolen 
undershirts and socks. Improvement 
finally came in January with the arrival 
and distribution of clothing from the 
United States. 50 

The story of the field jacket was 
closely paralleled in the case of the shoe- 
pac, one of the major items which dif- 
ferentiated the uniform recommended 
by the War Department from that 
initially adopted by the theater. The 
shoepac is essentially a combination rub- 
ber and leather boot which gives far 
better protection against water than 
either the leather boot or cloth overshoe. 
It was designed to fit over two pairs of 
socks, one of them a heavy ski sock, and 
had removable insoles. Later models of 
the shoepac gave the needed arch sup- 
port which the combat boot had pro- 

In some ways the footwear problem 
was more complex, and there was more 
room for legitimate differences of opin- 
ion as to what constituted adequate 
protection under winter conditions. In 
all its contacts with the theater on the 
subject of winter clothing, and during 
the visits of General Littlejohn to Wash- 
ington and of Captain Pounder to Lon- 

50 12th A Gp Rpt of Opns, XII, 201-04; Outfitting 
the Soldier, pp. 292-93. 

don, the OQMG had consistently in- 
cluded either overshoes or shoepacs in 
its recommendations. On the basis of 
tests it had recommended the shoepac 
as the most suitable item for combat 
troops under the conditions expected 
on the Continent. 51 

Early in July 1944 General Little- 
john indicated his awareness of the prob- 
lem when he wrote to the OQMG that 
he unquestionably would be called on 
to furnish overshoes or the equivalent 
thereof to all men in the theater for the 
coming winter and indicated that this 
would necessitate a substantial requisi- 
tion at an early date. 52 The requisition 
which he submitted two weeks later, 
however, called for sufficient overshoes 
to equip only 75 percent of U.S. troops 
on the assumption that the combat boot, 
which was then beginning to replace the 
old service shoe with leggings, would 
suffice for a portion of the continental 
strength. The first request for shoepacs 
was made on 15 August as part of the 
requisition for special winter clothing 
and equipment for one field army. 

With the onset of cold wet weather 
in September it was realized that the 
combat boot, although an excellent dry 
weather item, did not offer suitable pro- 
tection against water and mud, and that 
100 percent of the troops on the Con- 
tinent would need overshoes. The com- 
bat boot, like the flesh-out service shoe, 
was not leakproof, and troops used both 
the authorized dubbing and the forbid- 
den shoe polish in an attempt to water- 

51 Special Rpt of 11 Nov 44; Study, Overshoes 
Arctic and Combat Boots, Sec. VII of papers sup- 
porting Littlejohn ltr of 2 Mar 45, ASF Dir of Mat, 
Prod and Pur Div. 

52 Study, Overshoes Arctic and Combat Boots. 



proof them. Late in September the thea- 
ter made the first of its supplementary 
requisitions, calling for 293,000 over- 
shoes. Within two weeks it submitted 
an additional request for 1,300,000. 
Early in December it submitted its needs 
for the first three months of 1945, calling 
for 500,000 overshoes and an equal num- 
ber of shoepacs. 53 

The shortage which the theater faced 
pending the receipt of these supple- 
mentary shipments was aggravated from 
another source. Shoes and boots which 
had been fitted during the summer, 
when men were wearing light woolen 
or cotton socks, became too tight when 
worn with two or more pairs of heavy 
woolen socks. The inevitable result was 
a demand for larger sizes. This require- 
ment led to a demand for larger over- 
shoes as well. Size tariffs did not allow 
for the needed high proportion of E, 
double-E, and triple-E widths. The 
OQMG's adoption of a special winter 
tariff which allowed for greater widths 
in all types of footgear did not meet the 
theater's immediate needs. Overshoes in 
the larger sizes were lacking well into 
January. To make matters worse, the 
cloth-type overshoe tore easily and 
leaked badly, and the first shoepacs were 
of an early model which lacked a raised 
heel and an arch support. Meanwhile 
many troops adopted the expedient of 
wearing overshoes without shoes or 
boots, using several pairs of socks and 
improvised cardboard insoles. 

The lack of adequate footwear became 
inseparably associated with the precipi- 
tate rise in the incidence of trench foot 
which occurred in the second week of 

53 ibid. 

November. Trench foot eventually 
caused more than 46,000 men to be 
hospitalized and accounted for 9.25 per- 
cent of all the casualties suffered on 
the Continent. Trench foot is an injury, 
not an infection. Its cause is long ex- 
posure to cold and wet conditions which 
result in crippling injury to the blood 
vessels and muscle tissues of the feet. 
Trench foot is characterized by discol- 
oration and painful swelling, and re- 
quires evacuation and prolonged hos- 
pital treatment. A large percentage of 
those affected were unable to return to 
combat duty; some could no longer 
perform any military service. The high- 
est rates normally occurred among units 
(usually infantry divisions) living under 
wet and cold conditions in relatively 
static situations. Cold wet conditions, 
however, were only the most constant 
factor in the cause of the injury. Failure 
to rotate troops, improper foot care, and 
inadequate footgear and clothing, all 
contributed to the high incidence. 

The European theater had been 
warned about trench foot. The experi- 
ence of the previous winter in Italy had 
led the War Department to advise the 
theater in the summer of 1944 on meth- 
ods of prevention and control. Theater 
headquarters in turn drew up directives 
which were duly passed down through 
the various echelons. But the seriousness 
of trench foot as a casualty producer was 
not widely appreciated outside of a few 
units which had already had experience 
with it (as in the 6th Army Group, for 
example), and the instructions, particu- 
larly regarding individual care of the 
feet, were poorly enforced. Numerous 
cases of trench foot were reported during 
the fall. But the problem suddenly be- 



came serious with the launching of 
Third Army's offensive in the second 
week of November, when 1,500 cases 
were hospitalized. In calling attention 
to this precipitate rise in trench foot 
casualties, Col. Alvin L. Gorby, the 12th 
Army Group surgeon, noted that the 
condition was largely preventable and 
called for a campaign to combat it. 

The 12th Army Group shortly there- 
after issued a circular directing its sub- 
ordinate commands to enforce preven- 
tive measures and threatening disci- 
plinary action for noncompliance. 54 But 
a vigorous theaterwide control program 
which emphasized command responsi- 
bility in enforcing foot care was not 
launched until the end of January 1945. 
Training directives, pamphlets, and vari- 
ous media of public communications, 
such as The Stars and Stripes and Army 
Talks, were then employed to give the 
widest possible publicity to the nature 
and seriousness of trench foot and to 
the measures by which it could be com- 
bated. More important, the major com- 
mands now formed trench foot control 
teams, usually consisting of a line officer 
and a quartermaster or S-4 officer, to 
work with unit surgeons and to assist 
in training and in the supervision of 
control measures. In addition, noncom- 
missioned officers of demonstrated abil- 
ity and experience were designated at 
the company level to supervise and 
check on foot discipline and to ensure 
that certain routine preventive measures 
were taken by individual soldiers, such 
as the proper wearing of clothing, keep- 
ing feet dry and avoiding constriction, 
and massaging the feet to improve cir- 

51 12 A Gp Rpt of Opns, XIII, 49-51. 

culation. 55 These measures, aided by 
more moderate weather, brought a dis- 
tinct improvement in the next two 
months. By that time, however, the loss 
of personnel from trench foot and frost- 
bite already approximated the strength 
of three divisions in the 1 2th Army 

The importance of effective indoctri- 
nation, discipline, and individual hy- 
giene in the control of trench foot had 
been amply demonstrated. Incidence 
had varied greatly in units with the same 
type of footgear and living under sub- 
stantially the same conditions. The effec- 
tiveness of control measures, moreover, 
was found to be directly related to the 
state of discipline of a unit. Poor disci- 
pline was reflected in a high venereal 
disease rate, a high court-martial rate, a 
high AWOL rate, and a high trench foot 
rate. 50 

Nevertheless, lack of adequate winter 
clothing and footgear was recognized as 
an important contributory cause of the 
casualties resulting from cold. 57 Because 
healthy feet depend in part on a warm 
body and hands, the War Department 
had from the beginning emphasized that 
its proposed winter uniform, whose in- 
dividual items complemented each 
other, be considered as a whole. Lack 
of proper body clothing therefore con- 
tributed to foot troubles. 

As to footgear itself, the OQMG ap- 
parently did not regard any single 
combination as completely satisfactory 

53 Trench Foot, Gen Bd Rpt 94, pp. 6-7. 

™Ibid., p. 7; 12 A Gp Rpt of Opns, XIII, 157-63. 

57 Ltr, Lt Col Mason Ladd, Dir Legal Div SGO 
ETO, to CG COMZ, 25 May . 45, sub: Rpt of Study 
of Records and Investigation Relative to Incidence 
of Trench Foot, Micro Reel 114, Hist Docs World 
War II, ASF, Item 1318. 



for all situations. In defending the 
ETOUSA clothing record, the theater 
quartermaster later called attention to 
a War Department statement that the 
shoepac was not necessarily the answer 
to trench foot, and that the combination 
of service shoes with overshoes was prob- 
ably the best combination under most 
conditions on the Continent. But the 
service shoe-overshoe combination was 
admittedly a heavy and awkward com- 
bination in any situation requiring mo- 
bility, and combat troops frequently 
discarded the overshoes. The War De- 
partment, having concluded that the 
shoepac was the best article for unusual 
wet and cold conditions in which men 
were compelled to stand in water for 
long periods, had recommended its 
adoption for combat troops in the spring 
of 1944. 

That the shoepac was not the sole 
answer to trench foot was shown by ex- 
perience in the Seventh Army, which 
was 90 percent equipped with the shoe- 
pac and still suffered a sizable number 
of casualties. 58 But the incidence had 
not been as high as in other armies. This 
could probably be attributed to the fact 
that the veteran Seventh Army was some- 
what more trench foot conscious as a 
result of its earlier experiences. But the 
ETOUSA chief surgeon pointed out 
that a survey of one general hospital 
revealed that there were 29 percent 
fewer cases among troops who wore the 
shoepac. In many cases the shoepacs 
had failed to prevent trench foot only 
because of faulty instruction in their use 
and fitting. 59 The theater chief surgeon 

Infantryman Wearing a Field Jack- 
et M-1943 tries on a new pair of shoe- 
pacs with wool ski socks, January 1945. 

had reported as early as December 1 944 
that the shoepac had been found to be 
the only mechanical aid which contrib- 
uted substantially to the prevention of 
trench foot. 60 

It appears to have been clearly estab- 
lished that trench foot would have been 
much less prevalent had combat troops 
been equipped with the shoepac, what- 
ever the shortcomings of the earlier 
models. Beyond the requisition for one 


59 Study, Overshoes Arctic and Combat Boots. 

"Cbl EX-78065, ETO to WD, 23 Dec 44, in 
Study, Overshoes Arctic and Combat Boots. 



field army, ETOUSA did not request 
additional quantities of the shoepacs 
until December. In the case of footwear, 
therefore, as in the case of other items 
of clothing, it was the War Department's 
view that the theater had not given full 
consideration to experiential data from 
other theaters and that the chief quarter- 
master had been slow to adopt winter 
clothing items which on the basis of 
both tests and combat experience had 
been proved superior to the uniform 
proposed by the ETO. 

Responsibility for providing adequate 
clothing obviously was shared by the 
theater and the War Department, and 
responsibility for the shortcomings in 
this field must also be shared, although 
in precisely what degree it is difficult to 
say. Assigning blame for failures in the 
supply of adequate winter clothing in 
the winter of 1944-45 is not a simple 
matter, for some of the decisions on 
winter clothing had complex origins. 

An investigation of the clothing con- 
troversy was carried out by a committee 
headed by Col. Charles Garside in the 
spring of 1945. The investigation dealt 
almost exclusively with the question of 
supply— that is, quantity— and not with 
the adequacy of the uniform from the 
point of view of protection. The results 
were inconclusive. In general, the com- 
mittee found that both the theater quar- 
termaster and the OQMG had planned 
and acted with intelligence and fore- 
sight to meet winter clothing problems, 
and explained the difficulties over cloth- 
ing supply as stemming largely from 
unforeseeable circumstances such as pro- 
duction problems in the United States, 
transportation difficulties in the theater, 

extraordinarily high attrition rates, and 
misjudgment with regard to the end of 
the fighting in the theater. 61 

Maj. Gen. Clinton F. Robinson, chief 
of the Control Division in the ASF, 
reviewing the investigating committee's 
findings for General Somervell, did not 
accept them in their entirety. He con- 
cluded that aside from the unforeseeable 
difficulties both the War Department 
and the theater had been remiss in some 
respects, the War Department primarily 
for the lateness or inadequacy of re- 
search, the theater for improper requisi- 
tioning practices and failure to forward 
requisitions sufficiently far in advance. 62 

The controversy over the adequacy 
of various items of clothing— that is, the 
question of quality— is more complex. 
To begin with, the Army had been long 
in arriving at final decisions with respect 
to various development items in winter 
clothing. There were conflicting schools 
of thought within the QMC, and the 
merits of different principles or theories 
—the layering idea versus others, for ex- 
ample—were being debated at least as 
late as December 1 943, when a new 
Table of Equipment was adopted. Per- 
sonality conflicts clearly account for 
some of the controversy which devel- 
oped between General Littlejohn and 
the OQMG, and these arose at least in 
part from the fact that the theater quar- 
termaster had personally sponsored and 

01 Investigation, Supply of Clothing to ETO, 1 
Jan 44 to 28 Feb 45, DCofS, 420 ETO; see also Ltr, 
Garside to Brig Gen Albert J. Browning, 12 May 
45, same file. 

02 Memo, Robinson for Somervell, 21 Jun 45, sub: 
Investigation Supply of Clothing in ETO, DCofS 
files, 420 ETO. 



promoted the ETO jacket in the the- 
ater. 63 

To what extent the problem of avail- 
ability—that is, production— entered into 
the theater's initial rejection of certain 
items o£ the War Department's recom- 
mended winter uniform is hard to say. 
General Littlejohn made much of the 
lack of assurance on this point in ex- 
plaining his original decision not to re- 
quisition some of the new items. The 
War Department tended to discount 
this argument. General Gregory later 
pointed out that his recommendations 
had been made with production capabil- 
ities in mind, and General Lutes also 
later claimed that the new 1943 jacket 
was being produced in ample quantities 
beginning late in 1943. The implication 
was that the War Department would not 
have offered the theater the new items 
if they could not have been made avail- 
able in the required quantities, and that 
the theater's rejection was not justified 
on that count.' 14 

It is clear in any case that the War 
Department and the theater had not 
come to an understanding as to what 
would be required by, and what should 
be supplied to, the theater, particularly 
with respect to outer garments of the 
winter uniform. It is perhaps surprising 
that there should have been room for 
debate about the make-up of the combat 
uniform as late as the spring of 1944. 

03 See, for example, Ltr, Littlejohn to Gen Max- 
well, 17 Mar 44, and Ltr, Littlejohn to Feldman, 
7 Jul 44, Littlejohn Reading File; also Ltr, Somer- 
vell to Robinson in ETO, 6 Mar 45, ASF, ETO 

fi * Ltr, Gregory to Littlejohn, 28 Sep 44, Study of^ 
5 Apr 45; Memo, Lutes for Dir of R&SC, 22 Jan 45, 
sub: Supply of Winter Clothing to ETO, Lutes file 
ETO 1945. 

From the theater's point of view there 
apparently was enough uncertainty and 
indefiniteness about the question to per- 
mit it to plead its own interests and 
preferences. The War Department was 
obviously reluctant to impose its de- 
cisions and judgment on the theater in 
the matter. Its indulgence in this respect 
was not abnormal. The independence 
which the theater enjoyed in many mat- 
ters was in line with traditional policy. 
It was one which the War Department 
had reason to regret on occasion, most 
notably, for example, in the handling of 
manpower resources. 65 Perhaps this is 
the most serious indictment that can be 
made in the controversy over winter 
clothing. Whatever the indictment, one 
incontrovertible fact stands out: the 
ETOUSA combat soldier wore a uni- 
form that was deficient in proper pro- 
tection against the cold wet conditions 
under which he had to fight in the 
winter of 1944-45. 

By the late winter, as the result of 
substitutions and improvisation, the out- 
standing characteristic of the ETOUSA 
uniform was its lack of standardization 
and simplicity. By that time seventy dif- 
ferent items had been issued, including 
six types of jackets and seven types of 
trousers, creating insurmountable sup- 
ply problems. 60 In mid-January General 
Littlejohn summoned the quartermas- 
ters of all the major commands to a 
conference for the purpose of eliminat- 
ing some of the unsatisfactory items and 
of reaching an agreement on a single 
winter combat uniform. Littlejohn had 

,ia See Ch. XI, below. 
Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 127. 



first planned to call such a meeting in 
December, but the Ardennes counter- 
offensive caused it to be postponed. 

Little was accomplished at the con- 
ference which finally met at Paris on 29 
January, for the quartermasters of the 
12th Army Group saw no point in dis- 
cussing items with which most U.S. 
forces had had no experience. To the 
First, Third, and Ninth Armies the 
M1943 combat uniform— consisting of 
the Mi 943 jacket with pile liner, the 
high-neck sweater, the ETO jacket, scarf, 
and woolen underwear and shirt— was 
largely an unknown quantity. Col. 
James W. Younger, the Army Group 
quartermaster, expressed astonishment 
that it had not even been made available 
for field tests. 07 Representatives of the 
12th Army Group asked for an opportu- 
nity to test the 1943 uniform before 
attempting any decision, and the chief 
quartermaster agreed to make available 
small quantities of the complete uni- 
form for tests in all three armies, in 
the Ninth Air Force, and in the XVIII 
Airborne Corps. 

These units had hardly had sufficient 
opportunity to test the uniform when 
the second clothing conference met on 
17 March, attended by representatives 
of the major commands, the chief quar- 
termaster, the chief surgeon, and the 
OQMG, including a shoe expert from 

07 Min, Mtg at 12th A Gp Hq, 22 Feb 45, 12 A Gp 
QM No. 3 Clothing Conf. 

08 The WPB representative was Lawrence B. Shep- 
pard, Assistant Director of the Leather and Shoe 
Division, and formerly of the Hanover Shoe Com- 
pany, who had come to the theater in response to 
General Littlejohn's request for a shoe expert. For 
correspondence on this subject see file, Footwear 
and Socks for Use in the ETO, ASF Dir of Mat, 
Prod and Pur Div. 

the War Production Board. 68 The con- 
ference disclosed a wide range of opin- 
ion among the armies on the various 
items, and there was complete accord 
on only a few items such as underwear 
and shirts, and on the demand that 
leather be reversed on the combat boot. 
The greatest controversy arose over the 
type of jacket to be adopted. Third 
Army, which had carried out tests in the 
4th Armored and 26th Infantry Di- 
visions, particularly favored the ensem- 
ble designed for armored units, which 
included a widely admired combat 
jacket. But the production of this en- 
semble had already been terminated in 
the United States. 

The diversity of opinion on many 
items led General Littlejohn to appoint 
a committee headed by Colonel Younger 
to consolidate the many recommenda- 
tions and summarize the consensus of 
the conference. On the most contro- 
versial item the tabulation of prefer- 
ences was not conclusive, for four of the 
five armies voted for both the Mi 943 
jacket and the armored combat jacket. 
But the final uniform recommendations 
of the committee closely resembled the 
M1943 uniform that the War Depart- 
ment had repeatedly proposed, which 
included the wool field jacket (for dress 
wear), the M1943 combat jacket (modi- 
fied somewhat), shoepacs, service boots, 
a trenchcoat type of field coat, ponchos, 
and leather gloves with wool inserts. 69 

The conference made certain com- 

09 Min, Second Clothing Conf, 17-19 Mar 45; 
Memo, Younger for 12 A Gp Stf Sees, 23 Mar 45, 
sub: Winter Clothing Conf; and Memo, Younger 
for CG 12 A Gp, 14 Mar 45, sub: Winter Combat 
Uniform, all in 12 A Gp QM No. 1 Winter Combat 
Uniform, and No. 3 Clothing Conf. 



promises because of known production 
limitations, and was not completely suc- 
cessful in deciding on a simple, single 
uniform. But it proposed the elimina- 
tion of 2 1 items then authorized for 
issue in the theater, the reduction in 
the number of sizes by 59, and a reduc- 
tion in the number of basic fabrics 
from 10 to 4. 70 

General Littlejohn's personal report 
to The Quartermaster General on the 
results of the conference, in which he 
underscored the armies' preference for 
the armored combat jacket, only rekin- 
dled the old controversy between the 
OQMG and the office of the theater 
quartermaster. General Gregory's reply 
strongly suggested that the theater quar- 
termaster's conclusions did not accu- 
rately represent those of the clothing 
conference. More important, he consid- 
ered General Littlejohn's conclusions 
inadequately supported by experiential 
data, for they were based largely on the 
experience of men who had not had an 
adequate opportunity to test the com- 

70 Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 128. Another survey of the 
adequacy of winter clothing in the ETO, made by 
Maj. Paul A. Siple, a QMC technical observer who 
had accompanied Admiral Richard E. Byrd on his 
antarctic expeditions, reached conclusions very sim- 
ilar to those of the armies on various individual 
items. Siple, in addition to pointing out the de- 
ficiencies of individual items, emphasized that U.S. 
troops lacked both discipline and training in the 
proper use of clothing. Many of the difficulties he 
traced to their insistence on choosing undersized, 
tight-fitting garments for winter wear in an effort 
to retain the close-fitting characteristics of civilian 
clothing. British troops were better prepared in this 
respect, particularly with regard to the care of the 
feet, having had a costly experience in World 
War I. Maj Paul A. Siple, Report on the Adequacy 
of Winter Clothing in the ETO, 1944-1945, 12 May 
45, DCofS files, 420 ETO; Memo, Col Rodney H. 
Smith, Asst Deputy G-4, to DCofS, 30 Jan 45, 
EUCOM ETOUSA G-4 Planning Directives Series 
H Overlord. 

plete 1943 uniform. Admitting the pop- 
ularity of the armored combat jacket 
and trousers, General Gregory showed 
that the preponderance of evidence from 
those who had used both the Mi 943 
uniform and the former combination 
had indicated a decided preference for 
the 1943 ensemble. Only the Fifth and 
Seventh Armies, he maintained, had had 
any substantial measure of experience 
with the items comprising the author- 
ized uniform, and he found it highly 
significant that those experienced organ- 
izations had arrived at the same con- 
clusions. 71 The whole argument had of 
course long since become academic so 
far as the ETOUSA soldier in the winter 
of 1944-45 was concerned. 

(3) Weapons and Vehicles 

Shortages of ordnance equipment 
were probably the most serious in the 
Class II and IV category because of the 
immediate and direct effect which the 
lack of both tactical and cargo vehicles 
and weapons could have on operations. 
Shortages ranged from major items such 
as tanks, trucks, and artillery pieces to 
tires and tire patches, trailers, automatic 
weapons, fire control equipment, and 

While transportation affected deliv- 
eries in the late summer and fall, short- 
ages of ordnance equipment were 
mainly the result of high attrition and 
inadequate receipts in the theater. Early 
in November SHAEF provided the War 
Department with statistics to illustrate 
the rate at which supplies were being 

"Memo, Littlejohn for Gregory, 9 May 45, sub: 
Winter uniform, and Ltr, Gregory to WDGS, 11 
Jun 45, both in WDGS G-4 Winter Uniform for 
Use in the ETO, OCQM, ETO, WDGDS A47-3. 



consumed or expended in the European 
theater. Every day, it reported, nearly 
1,200 small arms weapons, 1,300 bay- 
onets, and 5,000 tires were lost. Every 
month 700 mortars, 375 medium and 
125 light tanks, 900 21/2-ton trucks, 1,500 
jeeps, 100 cannon of various calibers, 
and 150 tubes had to be replaced. These 
were total losses, and did not take into 
account unserviceable equipment which 
could be repaired. In the latter category, 
for example, were the 100 21/2-ton 
trucks which had to be taken off the Red 
Ball route every day. 72 Lack of spare 
parts for these vehicles and of adequate 
maintenance and repair facilities re- 
sulted in a rising number of deadlined 
vehicles. These totaled 15,000 in No- 
vember. 73 

The shortage of many Class II and IV 
items was attributed in part to War De- 
partment replacement or maintenance 
factors, which the theater claimed did 
not match monthly losses. The First 
Army showed that the loss rate for the 
4. 2 -inch mortar, for example, was ap- 
proximately double the authorized 12.5 
percent per month, and stated that the 
consumption rates for all signal equip- 
ment were far above the maintenance 
rates established by the War Depart- 
ment. 74 The importance of having ade- 
quate replacement factors lay in the fact 
that it was on the basis of them that 
theater reserve levels were established. 
Consumption of supplies or losses of 

"Cbl S-65533, SHAEF to AGWAR, 5 Nov 44, 
SHAEF G-4 400 Supplies, General, IV; Memo, 
Somervell for Dir Office of War Mobilization and 
Reconversion, 7 Dec 44, Hq ASF-President-White 
House-Exec Office 1944, Somervell file. 

"COMZ G-4 History, I, 130. 

"FUSA Quarterly G-4 Rpt for Period Oct-Dec 
44, FUSA 319a G-4 Periodic Rpts FUSA. 

equipment which greatly exceeded the 
maintenance or replacement factors 
could result in a sudden reduction of 
reserves because of the normally long 
lag in delivery time. 

The problem of replacement factors 
was nowhere better illustrated than in 
the case of the medium tank. Attempts 
to get the replacement factor for the M4 
tank revised had a long history, dating 
back to preinvasion days when the the- 
ater had predicted that losses in the land- 
ings would not be covered by the cur- 
rently authorized factor of 7 percent. As 
with other items of equipment, how- 
ever, the War Department insisted that 
any requests for revision must be backed 
by experiential data from actual combat. 
In June it raised the factor to 9 percent, 
but, as before, mainly on the basis of 
experience in Italy, for no conclusive 
data were yet available from operations 
in France. 

Losses in the first three months were 
considerably above the existing replace- 
ment factor, and thus tended to confirm 
the theater's earlier assertions. In mid- 
August ETOUSA reported that its re- 
serves were exhausted; by mid-Septem- 
ber it was finding it increasingly diffi- 
cult to keep armored units at their 
authorized Table of Organization and 
Equipment (T/O&E) strength. 75 The 
War Department meanwhile had agreed 

78 The figures cited in Logistical Support I, 522- 
23— namely, 26.6 percent for June, 244 for July, 
and 25.3 for August— which are taken from the 12th 
Army Group Report of Operations (XI, 67), may 
be exaggerated. Another source indicates that the 
theater reported losses of 6.4 percent in June, 7.3 
percent in July, and 20.6 in August, and an average 
cumulative loss rate of 14.7 for the first eleven 
weeks of operations. Memo, Maj Gen W. A. Wood, 
Actg Dir Plans and Opns ASF, for Dir Rqmts and 



to expedite the shipment of tanks al- 
ready released. But receipts did not meet 
requirements despite the lower losses 
which attended the revision to more 
static operations in the next few months. 
Losses in September came to 16.5 per- 
cent of the theater's T/O&E strength as 
compared with 25.3 percent in August. 
In October the rate fell to 9.8 percent. 
In November the rate advanced to 11.2 
percent and in December shot up to 22.8, 
reflecting the greatly intensified combat 
activity. 76 

Early in October the War Department 
had announced an increase in the re- 
placement factor for the medium tank 
from 9 to 1 1 percent. But this revision 
was made on the basis of the combined 
loss experience of 9.9 percent in the 
North African and European theaters in 
the month of July, and did not reflect 
the experience of August and September. 
By October the cumulative loss rate, 
according to the 12th Army Group, was 
nearer 20 percent in the European the- 
ater. 77 Revisions in the replacement fac- 
tor consequently lagged far behind cur- 
rent experience. 

Under these circumstances the theater 
found it impossible to maintain units 

Stock Control Div, n.d,, sub: Replacement Factor 
for Certain Items in ETO, Incl III to Memo, Wood 
for Somervell, 4 Jan 45, sub: ETO Replacement 
Factors or Days of Supply for Tank, Medium; 
Mortars, Radio Sets, and Ammo, Hq ASF Notebook 
of Memos, Ltrs, etc, on Supply, Somervell file. 

7,i The actual count in 75-mm. and 76-mm. tank 
losses in the 12th Army Group in these months was 
as follows: 318 against a T/O&E strength of 1,927 
in September, 199 out of a T/O&E strength of 
2,032 in October, 280 out of 2,509 in November, 
and 576 out of an authorized strength of 2 ^25 in 
December. 12 A Gp Rpt of Opns, XI, 67. 

77 The records are conflicting. 12th Army Group 
figures are cited, except as otherwise noted, for the 
sake of consistency. They are believed to be high. 

at their authorized strength, to say noth- 
ing of reconstituting reserves. At the end 
of September First Army, having oper- 
ated with approximately 85 percent of 
its authorized strength in tanks during 
the month, adopted the expedient of 
temporarily suspending the Tables of 
Organization and Equipment of ar- 
mored units so far as medium tanks 
were concerned, and reducing the au- 
thorized strengths in order to effect an 
equitable distribution of the available 
tanks and to establish a small reserve. 
The new T/O&E's temporarily cut the 
authorized strengths in 75-mm. and 76- 
mm. gun tanks from 232 to 200 for ar- 
mored divisions organized under the old 
T/O&E (the 2d and 3d Divisions only), 
from 168 to 150 for divisions organized 
under the latest T/O&E (all remaining 
armored divisions), and from 54 to 50 
for separate tank battalions. The Ninth 
Army later adopted the same provisional 
T/O&E's for its armored formations. 78 

The situation saw no improvement 
during the fall months. By the end of 
November there were on hand in the 
theater only 3,344 tanks against a 
T/O&E requirement of 3409 and an 
authorized on-hand reserve requirement 
of 937. 79 No true reserve existed, there- 
fore. The 12th Army Group reported 

7S Ltr, FUSA to Corps, Divs, and Tank Bns, 30 
Sep 44, sub: Medium Tank Loss Replacement Pol- 
icy, FUSA 470.8 Armored Cars and Tanks; Ltr, 
I. D. B. to Chief AFV&W Sec ETOUSA, 2 Dec 44, 
sub: Status of 75-mm. and 76-mm. Gun Medium 
Tanks, SHAEF G-3 O&E 470.8 Tanks, II. 

79 Memo, Brig Gen F. A. Heileman for Somervell, 
30 Dec 44, sub: Medium Tank Situation in ETO, 
Hq ASF, European Theater— last half 1944. The 
figure 937 is based on a 75 -day reserve. The theater 
had actually been authorized to requisition on the 
basis of a 75-day reserve plus a 60-day shipping 



that two of its tank battalions had fewer 
than ten serviceable tanks, and field com- 
manders in general deplored the fact 
that armored units had to operate at 
from 10 to 25 percent below authorized 
strength. Furthermore, the current the- 
ater troop basis failed to provide the one 
tank battalion per infantry division 
which field commanders considered a 
necessary minimum. As a partial remedy 
steps were taken to convert two battal- 
ions of the 10th Armored Group to com- 
posite tank battalions for use with infan- 
try divisions. 80 

The field commands had continued to 
urge the theater to obtain a higher re- 
placement factor, arguing that a larger 
flow of replacement tanks was impera- 
tive if the habitual infantry-tank co-op- 
eration which had characterized all oper- 
ations thus far was to continue. The 
12th Army Group noted that at no time 
since the middle of August had the 
armies had their full T/O&E allowance 
of tanks, and that not since the early 
days of the Normandy beachhead had 
they possessed a reserve. It maintained 
that a 25 percent reserve in each army 
was an operational necessity. 81 

One factor which plagued all supply 
between the zone of interior and the 
theater, and which never seemed to get 
sufficient consideration, was the time lag 
between the submission of requisitions 
and the eventual delivery of replace- 
ments. Because of the handling problem 
involved in the case of tanks, this time 
lag had a marked bearing on the thea- 

^Ltr, LD.B. to Chief AFV&W Sec, 2 Dec 44, sub: 
Status of 75-mm. and 76-mm. Gun Medium Tanks, 
SHAEF G-3 O&E 470.8 Tanks, II. 

81 Ltr, ia A Gp to CG ETO, 11 Dec 44, sub: 
Tank Rqmts, NUSA 451 Vehicles. 

ter's supply position. Time required to 
submit loss reports to the War Depart- 
ment and to obtain releases of replace- 
ment tanks, time required to move tanks 
from factories to ports and to load them 
for shipment, time required for unload- 
ing in the theater in the absence of 
adequate discharge facilities, and delays 
in reporting losses, including tanks 
deadlined for lack of spare parts, all 
contributed to what must have seemed 
an interminable lag between requisition 
and delivery. In addition, the large num- 
ber of tanks habitually under repair in 
the various echelons appeared to justify 
increasing the reserve factor. Theater 
officials were cognizant of these factors 
in the supply of tanks as well as other 
items, and it was for this reason that they 
had requested and been granted a sixty- 
day shipping factor in addition to the 
seventy-five-day reserve level. The low 
replacement factor, however, had be- 
come the more vital consideration, and 
it was the focal point of all attempts to 
remedy the situation. 

Improvement finally came in Decem- 
ber, the month of reckoning for several 
other major logistic problems, partly as 
the result of the first-hand investigation 
which Lt. Gen. LeRoy Lutes, Director 
of Operations, ASF, made during his 
visit to the theater. The theater pre- 
sented the ASF official with an exhaus- 
tive analysis of its medium tank situa- 
tion. It concluded that with currently 
scheduled receipts it would meet its 
T/O&E needs for the next two months, 
but predicted that it would be short 
approximately 1,100 tanks against its 
authorized reserves. It argued that a 
large portion of the reserve must be 
on hand to provide a cushion against 



losses. Additional tanks totaling 22 per- 
cent of the T/O&E— the equivalent of 
the sixty-day shipping and order time 
at 11 percent per month— it stated, 
should be on release and in the pipeline 
to ensure adequate maintenance re- 
quirements. On this basis it asked for 
the release of 1,102 tanks for January 
lift in addition to those already sched- 
uled. The analysis and request were also 
dispatched to the War Department. 82 

As was so often the case, the theater's 
data conflicted with the picture as seen 
in the War Department, partly because 
of the different replacement factors used 
and partly because of the War Depart- 
ment's habit of considering all tanks, 
whether actually on hand in the theater 
or just released, as part of the theater's 
assets. The theater and the War Depart- 
ment rarely saw eye to eye on this matter, 
as was also evidenced in the argument 
over ammunition. 83 On the other hand, 
the theater had used a replacement factor 
of only 13.1 percent in its computations, 
far below the exaggerated claims of 25 
percent which had repeatedly been made 
by the armies. 

In any case, General Lutes was now 
completely convinced that the theater's 
shortage of medium tanks was much 
more critical than indicated by the War 
Department studies, and he agreed that 
it was imperative to ship additional tanks 
to Europe as quickly as possible and to 
raise the replacement factor. On 17 De- 
cember officials in Washington went over 
the entire problem with the Lutes mis- 
sion in a transatlantic telephone confer- 

83 Cbl EX-84824, Lee to AGWAR, 15 Dec 44, Tab 
H to Official Rpt, Mission to ETO, 4 Dec 44-13 
Jan 45, Hq ASF. 

83 See above, Ch. IX, Sec. 2. 

ence. Washington now accepted the 
theater's computations and agreed to 
release 1,0 10 medium tanks in addition 
to the 250 scheduled for delivery to the 
port by the end of January. 

Only two days before this the War 
Department had raised the replacement 
factor from 1 1 to 14 percent. On General 
Lutes' recommendations it now agreed 
to raise it still further, to 20 percent, but 
with the understanding that this was a 
temporary concession and was to apply 
only during the next critical months, 
or until 1 May 1945. 84 In a memorandum 
to General Somervell several days later 
Lutes admitted that a higher replace- 
ment factor should have been adopted 
earlier even though there were doubts 
as to whether U.S. production could have 
met the demand. The theater later re- 
ported a cumulative loss rate of only 
12.8 percent through January 1945. 85 

While the War Department's action 
promised to place the theater in a healthy 
situation by the end of February, it 
provided no answer to the plight in 
which the theater found itself as a result 
of the Ardennes counteroffensive. First 
Army's medium tank losses in Decem- 
ber were to total nearly 400, three times 
the casualties suffered in the preceding 

^Merao, Col R. P. Hollis for Lutes, 10 Dec 44, 
sub: Critical Ord Items Listed in G-4 Rpt, 12 A 
Gp, Memo, Lutes for Lee, 11 Jan 45, sub: Rpt on 
the Activities of Lutes Party, and Record of Tel 
Conf Between Paris and Washington, 17 Dec 44, 
all in Official Rpt of Lutes Mission, Hq ASF. 

85 12th Army Group claimed a cumulative loss 
factor of 16.4 percent. Memo, Lutes for Somervell, 
23 Dec 44, sub: Medium Tanks, ETO, Official Rpt 
of Lutes Mission; Ltr, ETO to' 12 A Gp, 22 Feb 44, 
Ind to Ltr, 12 A Gp to ETO, 11 Dec 44, sub: Tank 
Rqmts, EUCOM 470.1 Combat Armored Cars and 
Tanks; 12 A Gp Rpt of Opns, XI, 67. 



Medium Tanks ready for shipment from Marseille to combat areas, 10 February 194$* 

month. 86 To meet its immediate replace- 
ment needs the theater had to seek relief 
closer at hand. On 19 December it ap- 
pealed to its neighbor to the south, the 
Mediterranean theater, to release sev- 
enty-five tanks which had been consigned 
to U.S. forces in Italy but which for some 
reason had been unloaded at Marseille 
and were already in Delta Base Section. 
ETOUSA proposed to repay this loan 
by asking the War Department to divert 
to the Mediterranean an equal number 
then being loaded at New York for ship- 
ment to Europe. General McNarney, the 
MTOUSA commander, readily agreed. 
In fact, a few days later the Mediter- 

ranean theater announced that it was 
releasing a total of 150 tanks for transfer 
to France. 87 

ETOUSA next asked 21 Army Group 
to survey its resources to determine 
whether any number of tanks up to 500 
could be made available, promising re- 
payment in February. Montgomery re- 
sponded by offering to release 351 tanks 
to U.S. forces, 254 of which were deliv- 
ered to the First Army and 97 to the 
Third before the end of the month. 88 

88 FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. 
Ill, p. 64. 

87 Cbl S-71959, Smith to McNarney, 19 Dec 44, 
and Cbl FX-71545, MTOUSA to SHAEF, 20 Dec 
44, SHAEF Cbl Logs 1944-45, Smith Papers; Cbl 
FX-73970, MTOUSA to SHAEF, 24 Dec 44, SHAEF 
G-3 O&E 470.8 Tanks, II. 

83 Cbl E-78893, COMZ to 21 A Gp, 26 Dec 44, 
and Cbl SD-8692, 21 A Gp to SHAEF, 26 Dec 44, 
both in SHAEF G-3 O&E 470.8 Tanks, II. 



British forces could easily afford such 
a transfer, for they held disproportion- 
ately high reserves— totaling 1,900 Sher- 
mans—in the United Kingdom. At the 
end of the month General Somervell 
directed Maj. Gen. James K. Crain, U.S. 
executive of the London Munitions As- 
signments Board (LMAB), to bid for 
1,000 of these tanks. Somervell pointed 
out that the establishment of a 35-per- 
cent reserve for both U.S. and British 
forces and the restoration of equality be- 
tween the two would actually require 
the transfer of 1,147 ta nks. 

But these instructions were rescinded. 
In view of the measures recently taken 
to meet ETOUSA's shortages from the 
United States, it was decided instead to 
assign the entire output of U.S. produc- 
tion to U.S. forces until their reserves 
in Europe totaled 2,000, which was ex- 
pected to require four months. Complete 
parity on a percentage basis was not ex- 
pected to be achieved before June, since 
British forces were promised a hundred 
mediums per month beginning in April, 
Under these arrangements no attempt 
was to be made to repay the loan of 351 
tanks made by 21 Army Group in De- 
cember. In any event, action had finally 
been taken to correct the maldistribution 
of reserves between the two forces. 89 

89 Cbl \VX_84700, Somervell to LMAB, 30 Dec 44, 
Memo of Decision on Medium and Light Tanks by 
Somervell, Crain, Crawford, Lord, Saylor, et at, 10 
Jan 45, Cbl LM 1-57455, Troopers to 21 A Gp, 5 
Jan 45, Cbl UKX-22667, LMAB to Shingler in 
ASF, 21 Jan 45, and Cbl UK- 19942, LMAB to 
SHAEF, 30 Dec 44, all in SHAEF G- 3 O&E 470.8 
Tanks, II; Memo, Lutes for Lee, 1 Jan 45, sub: 
Medium Tanks, EUCOM 470.8 Combat Armored 
Cars and Tanks, II; Record of Tel Conf Between 
Col Hollis (Paris) and H. A. Markle (Washington), 
28 Dec 44, and Cbl WARX-83327, Somervell to 
ETO, 28 Dec 44, both in Official Rpt of Mission to 
ETO, Lutes, Hq ASF. 

Efforts to provide the theater with 
armor of better quality continued 
throughout the fall and winter, but 
with little tangible result for the theater 
in this period. Production, and conse- 
quently deliveries, of the 76-mm. gun 
tank fell behind schedule, in part be- 
cause of design changes in suspension 
and tracks and because of tooling up for 
the newer 90-mm. gun tank. 90 The thea- 
ter therefore took no action to request 
the complete elimination of the 75-mm. 
gun tank until January 1945, although 
priority was given to the loading of the 
76-mm. gun model in the New York Port 
whenever possible. While the theater 
received increasing numbers of the 76's, 
the obsolescent short-barreled 75 con- 
tinued to be the principal weapon of 
armored units throughout the fall and 
winter. 91 

Equipping 300 M^s with British 17- 
pounder guns, plans for which had been 
made in August 1944, was postponed 
again and again because of the shortage 
of reserves with which to make the con- 
version. 92 Improved ammunition, high- 
velocity, armor-piercing (HVAP), for the 
76-mm. gun was shipped to the theater 
in this period, but receipts amounted to 
less than two rounds per gun per month 
until March 1945. 93 

The 105-mm. howitzer tank, first 
hailed as meeting the need for a tank 
with better high explosive ammunition, 

w Rpt, Hiland G. Batcheller, 14 Nov 44, sub: 
Critical Programs: A Rpt to the WPB, Hq ASF- 
President-White House-Exec Office 1944, Somervell 

81 Final Hist Rpt AFV&W Sec ETOUSA, D Day 
to Date of Inactivation, 6 Jun 44 to 24 May 45, p. 
23, ETO Adm 540, 

82 12 A Gp Rpt of Opns, XI, 48. 
03 Final Rpt, AFV&W Sec, p. 23. 



arrived in satisfactory numbers and was 
never in critical supply. But this tank 
did not live up to expectations because 
of its lack of a powered turret traverse. 
A later model contained the desired 
power traverse mechanism, but tanks so 
equipped did not reach the New York 
Port until the final month of hostilities 
and never saw combat. 

The 90-mm. gun tank, first known as 
the T26 and later as the M26 or Persh- 
ing, and long-awaited as the answer to 
the theater's need for armament that 
could match the Germans', did not be- 
come available for shipment until Jan- 
uary 1945. A token number first saw 
action on 15 February. Theater officials 
had twice revised their recommendations 
as to the ratio in which they desired the 
105-mm. howitzer tank and the newer 
go-mm. gun tank supplied. Before D Day 
they had advised a ratio of one 90-mm. 
gun tank to three 105's. In October, on 
the basis of combat experience with the 
latter, they recommended a ratio of two 
to one. Early in January 1945 the ratio 
was further altered to four to one in 
favor of the 90-mm. gun tank. 94 

The shortage of trucks was evident 
early in the fall and extended well into 
the winter. All armies reported critical 
deficiencies and a high deadline rate, 
and in October representatives of 
SHAEF, ETOUSA, and 12th Army 
Group met to establish priorities for 
the issue of vehicles. 95 Operational losses 

M Ibid., pp. 9, 16; 12 A Gp Rpt of Opns, XI, 46; 
Cbl EX-98320, COMZ to Somervell, 14 Feb 45, Cbl 
WX-39078, AGWAR to Lee, 17 Feb 45, and Cbl, 
SHAEF to Somervell, 8 Mar 45, all in SHAEF G-3 
O&E Tanks, II. 

85 Memo, Kibler for G-4 12 A Gp, 11 Oct 44, sub: 
Status of Gen Purpose Vehicles, 12 A Gp Vehicles 

had far exceeded War Department re- 
placement factors and by the end of 
November had exhausted continental re- 
serves. Lack of the desired percentage 
of heavy duty trucks (over 214 tons) had 
accentuated the rapid deterioration, for 
the smaller 21/2-ton general purpose ve- 
hicle was not well suited to long-distance 
hauling, which, along with overloading 
and improper maintenance, accounted 
for a high mortality rate. Trucks with 
larger capacity had been in production 
in the United States for more than a 
year, partly as a result of pressure ap- 
plied since the North African campaign. 
But heavy duty vehicles had never been 
manufactured in large numbers in the 
United States, and production thus far 
had fallen short of the goals. Pressure 
to turn out heavy duty vehicles mean- 
while had a detrimental effect on the 
production of the standard types, with 
resulting deficits in the output of 21/2- 
ton trucks also. In both cases the foundry 
industry, which was unable to expand 
rapidly enough to supply the castings 
for the full complements of axles, trans- 
missions, and engines, was the most per- 
sistent bottleneck. 96 

Like most deficiencies, the vehicle 
shortage had many ramifications. More 
vehicles were actually made available to 
the New York Port than could be shipped 
to the theater in the fall months of 1944. 
Lack of port capacity on the Continent, 
with its resultant accumulation of ships 
in European waters, had led the War 

(up to 13 Nov 44), No. 141; Ltr, Wilson to CG 
SOLOC, 4 Dec 44, sub: Informal Rpt for Nov 44, 
Hq SOLOC 319.1 CONAD Rpts. 

"Rpt, Hiland G. Batcheller, 14 Nov 44, sub: 
Critical Programs: A Rpt to the WPB, Hq ASF- 
President-White House-Exec Office 1944, Somervell 



Department to cut the number of sail- 
ings to the theater. The higher priority 
given to the shipment of weapons, com- 
bat vehicles, tires and tubes, antifreeze, 
and all types of spare parts for the equip- 
ment already in the theater left little 
space for vehicles on the allotted com- 
modity-loaders, with the result that vir- 
tually no general purpose vehicles could 
be lifted in November and December. 
Paradoxically, the theater claimed late 
in December that, despite the over-all 
port deficiency, unused discharge capac- 
ity actually existed in both the U.K. 
ports and at Cherbourg which, though 
unsuitable for other types of supplies, 
could have accepted thirty vehicle ships 
and thus given the theater about 30,000 
badly needed trucks. 97 But General 
Lutes, when told of this during his visit 
to the theater in December, found no 
evidence that theater officials had made 
a point of this in communications with 
the War Department. 08 

Early in January the theater claimed 
shortages of 33,000 vehicles and esti- 
mated that with currently scheduled 
shipments it would still be short about 
30,000 on 1 February and 35,000 on 1 
March. To meet at least part of this 
deficit it initially asked the War Depart- 
ment to dispatch twenty-five ships solidly 

91 Vehicle assembly facilities were more than equal 
to discharge capacities and, with the completion of 
arrangements with the Ford Motor Company at 
Antwerp, reached a monthly capacity of 31,500 by 
the end of the year. 

08 Unsigned Memo, 21 Dec 44, Memo, Chief Ord 
Off ETO for G-4 COMZ, 26 Dec 44, sub: Supply 
of GPVs, Memo, Hollis for Lutes, 25 Dec 44, sub: 
Deficit of GPMV for Initial Equipment of ETO 
Units, and Memo, Lutes for SAC, 26 Dec 44, sub: 
Vehicles for Equipping Units, all part of Tab G to 
Official Rpt of Mission to ETO, 4 Dec 44, 13 Jan 
45, Lutes, Hq ASF. 

loaded with vehicles for arrival in Feb- 
ruary. After a more searching review of 
the theater's future needs, which con- 
sidered the requirements for operations 
beyond the Rhine and took into account 
the civil relief needs and the poor pros- 
pects for local procurement, General 
Somervell, who was then in the theater, 
increased the requisition to thirty ships 
for February and directed that an addi- 
tional fifty be dispatched for March ar- 
rival. Maj. Gen. Charles P. Gross, the 
Chief of Transportation in Washington, 
at first questioned the theater's ability 
to receive such numbers in view of the 
continuing bank of idle ships in -Euro- 
pean waters. But Somervell was appar- 
ently convinced of the theater's dis- 
charge capacity and ordered the ship- 
ments set up without further discus- 
sion." Shipments made against this di- 
rective brought substantial relief by the 
time of the Rhine crossing in March. 

Tires were another item in which truly 
critical shortages developed in the fall 
of 1944. The War Department had actu- 
ally warned all major commands of po- 
tential shortages as early as December 
1943, and announced its allocations pol- 
icy, just as it had for other supplies in 
which it was known that production 
would fail to meet demands. Headquar- 
ters, ETOUSA, passed this information 
on to its subordinate commands and 
directed them to enforce rigid compli- 

99 Cbl E-84296, ETO to G-4 to SHAEF, 9 Jan 45, 
Cbl WARX-89701, AGWAR to ETO, 10 Jan 45, 
Cbl E-84558, ETO to AGWAR, 10 Jan 45, Cbl 
WARX-90495, AGWAR to ETO, 12 Jan 45, Cbl 
S-74716, SHAEF to CCS, 13 Jan 45, Cbl WARX- 
20354, Gross to ETO, 13 Jan 45, Cbl E-86337, 
Somervell to AGWAR, 14 Jan 45, and Cbl EX- 
86788, ETO to AGWAR, 15 Jan 45, all in ETO 
Adm 398 and 404, IN and OUT Cables. 



ance with preventive maintenance and 
conservation standards. 100 

Enforcement of these well-conceived 
regulations was something less than ideaL 
This, plus the grueling conditions which 
accounted for a high mortality of ve- 
hicles, only accentuated the shortages 
already caused by production shortfalls 
in the United States. It was soon appar- 
ent that the War Department replace- 
ment factor of 7.5 percent was much too 
low in view of the constant use to which 
vehicles had been put. By early Septem- 
ber every command was aware of the 
deterioration which was snowballing into 
critical proportions. An inspection of 
trucks in the Advance Section at that 
time revealed that 70 percent of its ve- 
hicles had already run an average of 
10,000 miles. Even assuming 100 per- 
cent tread wear, which did not take into 
account tires replaced because of dam- 
age resulting from cuts, overload breaks, 
or accidents, the average mileage expect- 
ancy of tires was calculated to be about 
12,000 miles. From this it was evident 
that several thousand tires would have 
to be replaced within the next few weeks. 
The same situation could be assumed 
to apply in other commands. 101 

Replacement of worn-out tires fell 
behind as early as September. By the end 
of November the 12th Army Group, 
then deeply engaged in its autumn offen- 
sive, claimed that the lack of tires was 

100 Ltr, WD to Major Cmds, 7 Dec 43, sub: Critical 
Tire Shortage, and Ltr, Hq ETO to FUSAG et at., 

8 Feb 44, sub: Tire and Tube Maintenance, 12 
A Gp 451-92 Tires, I. 

101 Ltr, Capt Leland E. Copple, Chief Tire Sec 
ADSEC, to G-4 Motor Transport Brig ADSEC, 9 
Sep 44, sub: Tire Replacement Survey, ADSEC 
451.92 Tires and Tubes; Ltr, ETO to Maj Comds, 

9 Apr 44, sub: Tire and Tube Maintenance, 12 A 
Gp 451.92 Tires, I; COMZ G-4 Hist, V, 40. 

actually affecting operations. 102 No im- 
mediate and substantial relief was in 
sight. On the basis of available stocks 
and foreseeable replacements from the 
United States the Communications Zone 
in fact concluded that the theater faced 
an emergency of the gravest nature. Re- 
pair and retreading had fallen far be- 
hind for lack of materials, particularly 
camelback. Delays in the shipment of 
this vital commodity, combined with the 
small shipment of new tires, led the Com- 
munications Zone to predict a deficit of 
at least 250,000 tires by the end of Janu- 
ary and the deadlining of 10 percent of 
the theater's vehicles. General Lee, while 
describing the dark outlook at a com- 
mand and staff conference early in De- 
cember, noted that the chief of trans- 
portation had already been forced to 
deadline all one-ton trailers and one 
thousand vehicles for lack of tires. 103 

Some measures had already been taken 
to meet the crisis. In November Brig. 
Gen. Hugh C. Minton, director of the 
Production Division, ASF, had arrived 
in the theater to survey local productive 
capacity, and after an inspection of eight 
plants in France and Belgium recom- 
mended the reactivation of the local in- 
dustrial capacity. Late in the month rep- 
resentatives from SHAEF and the Com- 
munications Zone met and decided to 
form a rubber committee which was to 
promote the development of civilian 
resources for tire production and repair 

W2 TWX, FUSA to COMZ, 1 Oct 44, and TWX 
Q-24367, 12 A Gp to COMZ, 25 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 
451.92 Tires, I. 

103 Comd and Stf Conf on Tire Conservation, Hq 
COMZ, 8 Dec 44, ADSEC 451 Vehicles; Cbls 
E-67929 and EX-68973, COMZ to ETO, 27 Nov 
and 1 Dec 44, respectively, 1? A Gp 451.92 Tires, 
I; COMZ G-4 Hist, V, 40. 



on the Continent and allocate a fair 
share of the tires produced to civilian 
and military needs. Representatives from 
the G-4 and G-5 Divisions of both 
SHAEF and the Communications Zone, 
SHAEF Mission to France, the General 
Purchasing Agent, and the theater ord- 
nance officer were appointed to the com- 
mittee, which immediately took steps to 
restore the tire industry to production. 

The program did not promise sub- 
stantial relief in the immediate future. 
As was the case in several other attempts 
at local procurement, it created as many 
problems as it solved. Production in 
France and Belgium depended on the 
import of raw materials and on the allo- 
cation of transportation and power, all 
of which were critically short, and in 
addition entailed the division of the 
product between military and civilian 
needs. The program got under way in 
good time, however, and bore the first 
fruit on 4 January, when the first tire 
was turned out from American synthet- 
ics at the Goodrich plant in Paris. Be- 
fore the end of the month the Goodrich 
plant was producing at a rate of 4,000 
tires per month and the Michelin plant 
at the rate of 2,000. Before long six 
plants were in operation in France and 
Belgium. The War Department also con- 
sidered the possibility of procurement 
in Spain, but the shortage of carbon 
black made this impossible. In fact, lack 
of this vital component forced cutbacks 
in U.S. production and threatened to 
force suspension of the program in 
Europe. 104 

104 Ltr, COMZ to SAC, 6 Jan 45, sub: Rubber 
Committee, and Cbl W-60623, AGWAR to COMZ, 
29 Mar 45, SHAEF AG 451.92-1 Tires and Tubes; 
COMZ G-4 Hist, V, 45-47. 

The theater had also launched a vigor- 
ous campaign to enforce preventive 
maintenance. Tire inspections had shown 
that 40 percent of all replacement needs 
could be laid to underinflation, over- 
loading, or other abuses. The widest 
possible publicity was therefore given 
to the importance of preventive main- 
tenance, including such points as proper 
tire pressure, maximum speeds, rotation 
of tires, proper wheel alignment, avoid- 
ance of overloading, and daily inspec- 
tions for cuts and bruises. Both The 
Stars and Stripes and the Armed Forces 
Network radio were enlisted in the cam- 
paign to make vehicle drivers conserva- 
tion conscious, and a slogan contest was 
held, with prizes in the form of War 
Bonds and two-day passes to Paris. 105 

The War Department meanwhile had 
been bending every effort to increase its 
shipments to the theater. To meet emer- 
gency needs it combed the zone of inte- 
rior for extra tires, collecting all stocks 
from posts, camps, and stations, remov- 
ing tires from all unserviceable vehicles 
that were not immediately repairable, 
and stripping spares from all vehicles 
except for minimum emergency pools 
for convoy operations. Increasing pro- 
duction proved a thorny problem, partly 
because of material and manpower short- 
ages, but also because of bad labor rela- 
tions in the rubber industry. Labor and 
management eventually signed an agree- 
ment which brought about a moratorium 
in labor disputes affecting tire produc- 
tion. The War Department at the same 

105 Comd and Stf Conf, Hq CZ, 8 Dec 44; COMZ 
G-4 Hist, V, 46, 48-49. 



time released skilled workers to tire 
plants to ease the manpower shortages. 106 
By these expedients the desperate theater 
shortage was gradually eased. 

Production shortfalls in vehicles and 
tires were fairly symptomatic of the diffi- 
culties which had plagued munitions 
output in general. In both cases the 
shortages had been foreseen for several 
months, for they had resulted in part 
from a general slackening of effort in 
the United States. The production of 
munitions had fallen off as early as No- 
vember 1943 and had remained for sev- 
eral months at levels unequal to ex- 
pected demands. The contagious opti- 
mism growing out of the midsummer 
pursuit in France encouraged this trend, 
causing workers to leave factories turn- 
ing out badly needed munitions to seek 
other employment. These developments, 
combined with the increasing demands 
arising from unexpected consumption 
and attrition in the active theaters, in- 
evitably led to critical deficits. 

100 Memo, Somervell for Dir Office of War Mobili- 
zation and Conservation, 7 Dec 44, Hq ASF-Presi- 
dent-White House— Exec Office, 1944, Somervell 
file; Memo, no signature and n.d. [c. December], 
sub: Heavy Duty Truck and Bus Tires, Hq ASF 
Notebook of Memos, Ltrs, etc., re Supplies; Byron 
Fairchild and Jonathan Grossman, The Army and 
Industrial Manpower, UNITED STATES ARMY 
IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1959). 

The War Department had taken meas- 
ures to counteract this trend with a de- 
termined drive to stimulate production. 
In an attempt to ease the manpower 
shortage General Somervell in the sum- 
mer of 1944 first secured the release 
of servicemen to foundries, and then se- 
cured authorization to furlough up to 
2,500 men for ninety-day periods to aid 
in the manufacture of 105-mm. shells. 
At the same time the ASF enlisted the 
help of the War Production Board, the 
War Manpower Commission, and the 
Military Affairs (Mead) Committee of 
the Senate to impress upon labor the 
need for greater output. General Eisen- 
hower had already made an appeal via 
the press in August for the maximum 
flow of munitions. Early in January Gen- 
eral Somervell asked the Supreme Com- 
mander to send a message to both man- 
agement and labor emphasizing the crit- 
ical needs of the European theater. 107 

107 Ltrs, Somervell to Lee, 4 Aug 44 and 1 Dec 44, 
Ltr, Somervell to Eisenhower, 12 Dec 44, and Memo, 
Lutes for Somervell, 17 Dec 44, all in Hq ASF 
European Theater-last half of 1944; Memo, Somer- 
vell for Clay, 7 Dec 44, Hq ASF-President-White 
House-Exec Office 1944, Somervell file; Cbl, Somer- 
vell to Eisenhower, 3 Jan 45, Cbl S-73675, SHAEF 
to WD, 4 Jan 44, and Cbl WAR-87134, Marshall 
to Eisenhower, 5 Jan 45, all in Hq ASF, ETO 1945, 
Somervell file; Cbl E-81755, COMZ to AG WAR, 5 
Jan 45, and Cbl W-22616, AGWAR to COMZ, 19 
Jan 45, all in SHAEF AG 451.92—1 Tires and Tubes, 


Supplying the Armies: Ammunition 

(i) The October Crisis 

In the entire eleven months of oper- 
ations on the Continent no supply prob- 
lem plagued U.S. forces more persist- 
ently or constricted their operations 
more seriously than the shortage of field 
artillery ammunition. Restrictions on 
expenditures were imposed shortly after 
the Normandy landings because of un- 
loading difficulties at the beaches. Such 
restrictions continued with little relaxa- 
tion until the end of hostilities because 
resupply from the United States was 
uncertain. 1 In well over half of all types 
of artillery ammunition the theater was 
able to maintain stocks in excess of the 
authorized level of seventy-five days of 
supply at War Department rates. But 
in the major items accounting for the 
great bulk of all expenditures the ag- 
gregate stocks on hand in the theater 
were almost without exception below the 
authorized levels throughout the eleven 
months of operations. 2 

1 See Logistical Support I, 445-48 and 525-43 for 
early difficulties. 

2 History of Planning Division ASF, App. 18-A, 
Ammunition Supply for the European and Medi- 
terranean Theaters, 15 Aug 45, OCMH. This study 
contains tabulations of on-hand stocks, monthly 
expenditures, and authorized and actual day-of- 
supply levels for the major types of artillery am- 

Ammunition supply prospects ap- 
peared favorable for a short time early 
in September, and the 12 th Army Group, 
although increasingly skeptical of the 
Communications Zone's optimistic fore- 
casts, made relatively liberal allocations 
to the armies in the hope of crashing 
through the West Wall on the momen- 
tum of the pursuit. By the middle of 
the month this policy had left deep holes 
in the theater's reserves, reducing re- 
serve levels in the major types by an 
average of twenty days of supply from 
the preceding month. 3 Exhaustion of 
some categories was expected within as 
little as two weeks. Inadequate discharge 
facilities continued to account for much 
of the delay in deliveries. But in the 
case of the heavier calibers the War 
Department simply was not releasing 
sufficient quantities. Now an Allied force 
of growing size stood at the German bor- 
der and demanded huge quantities of 
field artillery ammunition to break 
through the steel and concrete of the 
West Wall. 4 

Increasing uncertainty over future 

3 History of Planning Division ASF, pp. 132-70. 

*Ltr, 12 A Gp to CG COMZ, 16 Sep 44, sub: 
Items of Ammo in Critical Short Supply, EUCOM 
471 Allocation of Ammunition, II; 12 A Gp Ord 
Sec Jnl, 15 Sep 44. 



ammunition availability characterized 
the last two weeks of September as the 
armies attempted to widen the breaches 
in the German defenses. Army group 
continued to allocate ammunition for 
eight-day periods, and the armies fired 
at substantially higher rates than in the 
preceding month. But the allocations re- 
flected the hand-to-mouth supply situa- 
tion and fell far short of the rates agreed 
to in the month before the invasion or 
desired by the field commands. The al- 
location for the period 27 September-5 
October, for example, permitted daily 
expenditures of only 3.8 rounds per gun 
for the 240-mm. howitzer and 3.1 rounds 
for the 8-inch gun. 5 Apprehension over 
future deliveries led both First and 
Third Armies to impose a strict ration- 
ing of critical types. Subordinate units 
in turn exercised additional economies 
in an effort to build up forward stocks. 6 
At the periodic allocation meeting on 
1 October the Communications Zone 
presented figures which indicated some 
improvement in supply, and the army 
group therefore granted somewhat larger 
expenditure rates for the next eight-day 
period, 5-13 October. 7 Two days later 
the full seriousness of the ammunition 
situation was finally brought to light. 
The First Army ammunition officer 
showed that the allocation was com- 
pletely unrealistic, for the ammunition 

5 Memo, Hinds for G-3, G-4, and Ord Sec 12 A 
Gp, 24 Sep 44, sub: Ammo Allocs 27 Sep— 5 Oct 44, 
12 A Gp 471/1 Ammunition Allocations. 

°Ltr, Hodges to Bradley, 28 Sep 44, sub: In- 
creased Alloc, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition; TUSA 
AAR, II, Ord, 12; Rpt, Ammo, Western Europe, 
1-30 Sep 44, Ammo Off FUSA to Ord Off FUSA, 
25 Oct 44, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply 
for Field Artillery, entry 31, Box 43. 

7 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 1 Oct 44. 

which the army had been authorized to 
expend did not exist in army depots and 
could not be obtained from the Commu- 
nications Zone. Both the army group and 
the armies had long doubted the reliabil- 
ity of the Communications Zone's avail- 
ability forecasts. Their suspicions now 
appeared confirmed. 8 

A full investigation of the situation in 
the next few days revealed that the am- 
munition shortage had reached truly crit- 
ical proportions. At the next regular al- 
location meeting on 9 October, attended 
as usual by the G-3, G-4, ordnance, and 
artillery officers of the 12th Army Group, 
and a representative of the Communica- 
tions Zone, plus the ammunition officers 
at First, Third, and Ninth Armies, it was 
revealed that reserve stocks of certain 
critical items were near exhaustion de- 
spite the fact that expenditures had 
been lower than predicted. Widely vary- 
ing availability figures for the allocation 
periods since early September convinced 
the conferees of the "absolute unrelia- 
bility" of such figures provided by the 
Communications Zone. 9 

There appeared to be two main causes 
for the alarming situation that had de- 
veloped: inadequate discharge of ships, 
and a recent decision authorizing First 
Army to increase its reserves in noncrit- 
ical items from three to five units of 
fire. The latter decision had served to 

8 Ibid., 3 Oct 44; Ltr, Lt Col J. P. Daley, Arty 
Sec 12 A Gp, 10 Sep 44, sub: Rpt of Visit to Eagle 
Tac, 9 Sep 44, 12 A Gp 319.1 Reports; Rpt, FUSA 
Ammo Off to FUSA Ord Off, 25 Oct 44, sub: Ammo 
Supply Rpt, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammo Supply for 
Field Artillery. 

"Ammunition Supply of Field Artillery, Gen Bd 
Rpt 58, p. 25, citing an inclosure to conference 
recommendations of 9 October, 



draw most of the remaining ammunition 
into the area of the First Army. 10 

COMZ officials had recognized the seri- 
ousness of the unloading situation ear- 
lier, and in the last days of September 
the G-4 and ordnance officials had 
worked out a plan calling for the un- 
loading of eight Liberties at a time, six 
of them at Cherbourg and the remainder 
at the beaches. 11 The Communications 
Zone had obviously counted on this pro- 
gram in presenting its availability fig- 
ures on 1 October. But circumstances be- 
yond its control intervened to upset its 
schedule and discredit its predictions. 
First, higher authority (presumably 
SHAEF) ordered berths at Cherbourg 
freed to give priority to troop debarka- 
tions. Then storms virtually stopped op- 
erations at the beaches, with the result 
that an average of only two ships had 
been worked at a time and barely a thou- 
sand tons of ammunition per day had 
been discharged in the first week of 
October. This precipitate drop in un- 
loadings, combined with the generally 
poor discharge record for most of Sep- 
tember, had had its inevitable effect on 
COMZ depot stocks, which were reduced 
practically to zero in all critical items 
through shipments to the armies. 12 

10 Memo, Hinds for G-3 12 A Gp, 10 Oct 44, Gen 
Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artil- 

"Memo, Clark for G-4 SHAEF, 11 Oct 44, sub: 
Ammo Allocs to Central Group of Armies for Pe- 
riod 13 Oct-7 Nov, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition. 

12 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 9 Oct 44; Ltr, Capt W. E. 
Gunther, SHAEF G-4 Div, to Chief Current Opns 
Br G-4, 9 Oct 44, sub: Rpt on Ammo Mtg; Memo, 
Hinds for G-3 12 A Gp, 10 Oct 44, Gen Bd file 
471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artillery; 
Memo, Clark for G-4 SHAEF, 9 Oct 44, and un- 
signed tabulation of statistics on ammunition ships 
working, discharging, etc., in SHAEF G— 4 471 Am- 

Drastic measures were obviously need- 
ed to forestall disaster. On 11 October, 
on the recommendation of the conferees, 
12 th Army Group forced the most strin- 
gent economy in ammunition expendi- 
tures yet imposed on U.S. forces by can- 
celing the allocation already in effect 
for the period 5-13 October and reallo- 
cating the available ammunition to the 
armies with the warning that no addi- 
tional amounts would be issued until 7 
November. 13 

In some cases the amounts now au- 
thorized for the thirty-three day period 
were less than those originally author- 
ized for the eight-day period; and since 
the allocation was retroactive to 5 Octo- 
ber some of the ammunition had already 
been expended. In making the new al- 
location the army group included only 
unobligated balances in base depots, 
stocks in the continental pipeline, and 
stocks which were expected to be in field 
force depots. Because of the uncertainty 
of discharge it refrained from counting 
as assets all stocks afloat off the Nor- 
mandy beaches and ports, quantities 
which the Communications Zone had ill- 
advisedly included as available for pur- 
poses of allocation. 14 First Army actually 
had to give up some of the stocks it had 
built up under the previous authoriza- 

13 TWX's, 12 A Gp to Armies, 11 Oct 44, SHAEF 
G-3 O&E 471 Ammunition; Gen Bd Rpt 58, p. 25. 
The available ammunition was divided between 
the armies on the basis of activity factors which 
gave 55 percent to First Army, 35 percent to Third 
Army, and 10 percent to Ninth Army. Ltr, Gunther 
to Chief Current Opns Br G-4, 9 Oct 44, sub: Rpt 
on Ammo Mtg, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition 
Supply for Field Artillery. 

14 Memo, Clark for G-4 SHAEF, 1 1 Oct 44, sub: 
Ammo Alio to Central Group of Armies for Period 
13 Oct-7 Nov, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition; TUSA 
AAR, II, Ord, 14. 



tion to accumulate five units of fire in 
order to bring about a more equitable 
distribution. 15 

Meanwhile the Communications Zone 
agreed to step up unloading at once, set- 
ting a target of 6,000 tons per day. To 
meet this goal General Lee informed 
General Bradley that he was taking ac- 
tion to ensure the working of at least 
12 ships at all times, and promised a 
continuous flow of the required ammuni- 
tion by not later than 24 October. At 
this time there were 35 loaded ammuni- 
tion ships in European waters. The Com- 
munications Zone actually gave imme- 
diate priority to the discharge of 16 
ships— 6 at Cherbourg and 10 at the 
beaches. But bad weather was expected 
to hold down unloading at the beaches 
to the equivalent of 2 ships, so that cur- 
rent priorities actually assures an ef- 
fective discharge of only 8. General Strat- 
ton proposed to better this program in 
the near future by assigning additional 
berths at Cherbourg, adding berths at 
Morlaix, working additional ships at the 
beaches, and transferring ammunition to 
LST's in the United Kingdom for dis- 
charge at Le Havre. These measures en- 
tailed a temporary sacrifice in the dis- 
charge of other supplies. They also ne- 
cessitated forwarding ammunition to the 
armies in bulk, and this would result 
in receipts of some items not requested. 
But it was expected that the net effect 
would be to expedite the delivery of 
needed items too. 16 The selection of 7 

15 Memo, Hinds for G-3 12 A Gp, 10 Oct 44, Gen 
Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artil- 

1(1 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 9 Oct 44, TWX E-53841, 
Lee to Bradley, 12 Oct 44, and Memo, Stratton for 
Crawford, 12 Oct 44, sub: Discharge of Ammo Ships, 

November as the date until which the 
armies would have to get along on stocks 
already on the Continent was predicated 
on the successful achievement of the pro- 
posed schedule. Not until that time was 
it believed that the continental pipe- 
lines could be filled and a continuous 
flow of ammunition assured. 17 

Pending the acceleration of unload- 
ings, the Communications Zone at- 
tempted to provide some relief by col- 
lecting scattered remnants of ammuni- 
tion long since left behind by the arm- 
ies in the base area. Approximately 
4,000 tons of the types desired by the 
field commands, which had not been 
picked up on COMZ records, were re- 
covered in this way in old dumps in the 
vicinity of St. L6, Mortain, and Alen^on. 
Additional quantities were collected and 
shipped forward from an ammunition 
supply point recently used by the VIII 
Corps in Brittany. 18 

In the south the 6th Army Group, 
which still depended on the North Afri- 
can theater for logistic support, faced 
similar difficulties as it approached the 
borders of Alsace. In mid-September the 
artillery officer of the Seventh Army re- 
ported that if, as expected, that command 
met stronger resistance in the near fu- 
ture it would be "in a hell of a fix for 

SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition; Ltr, Col H. A. 
Nisley, 12, A Gp Ord, to G-4 12 A Gp, 30 Oct 44, 
sub: Estimate of Ord Class V Situation, ADSEC 381 
Supply Plan; Col Rapport in COMZ G-4 Plant 
and Communications Diary /Jnl, 11 Oct 44, ETO 
Adm G-4 145C. 

17 Ltr, Gunther to Clark, 9 Oct 44, sub: Rpt on 
Ammo Mtg, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition. 

18 Ltr, Nisley to G-4, 30 Oct 44, sub: Estimate of 
Ord Class V Situation, ADSEC 381 Supply Plan; 
Memo, Clark for G-4 SHAEF, 9 Oct 44, SHAEF 
G-4 471 Ammunition. 



ammunition/' 19 As in the north, lack 
of adequate transportation and discharge 
were the most immediate causes for the 
shortages, and in mid-October the un- 
loading of certain critical types of am- 
munition was given the highest priority 
at Marseille. The 6th Army Group, 
like the 12th, imposed severe limitations 
on expenditures in order to conserve 
stocks for the November offensive. 20 At 
the same time 6th Army Group at- 
tempted to obtain ammunition from 
ETOUSA for the recently transferred 
XV Corps on the ground that the ammu- 
nition requirements for that corps, until 
recently assigned to Third Army, must 
have been requisitioned from the War 
Department by the European theater. 
But the 12th Army Group insisted that 
it had agreed to the transfer of the XV 
Corps, including considerable artillery, 
only in the belief that the 6th Army 
Group was better able to support it. In 
view of ETOUSA's own desperate situa- 
tion there was no prospect of its coming 
to the aid of the forces in the south. 21 

The October crisis had precipitated 
a long overdue reform in the system of 
control over ammunition issues and ex- 
penditures. The procedure in operation 
up to this time was essentially the one 
adopted by First Army in mid-June, 

19 Gen Bd Rpt 58, p. 23, citing Ltr to Arty Off 12 
A Gp, 17 Sep 44. 

30 Memo, Lt Col G. E. Nichols, Any S-4 SUSA, 
22 Nov 44, in Sixth Army Group History (mimeo); 
History of Delta Base Section, III, App., p. 14; 6th 
A Gp G-3 Sec Final Rpt World War II, pp. 92-93. 

31 Ltrs, Hinds to Maj Gen John A. Crane of 
AFHQ, 13 Oct 44, Wilson to Hinds, 19 Oct 44, 
and Hinds to Crane, 30 Oct 44, all in 12 A Gp 471 
Ammunition General; Cbl £-43310, McNarney to 
Eisenhower, 24 Oct 44, and Cbl S-63913, SHAEF 
to AFHQ, 25 Oct 44, SHAEF Cbl Logs, Smith 

when the first restrictions were imposed. 
Under this system First Army had pre- 
scribed, usually for four-day periods, the 
number of rounds of each type of am- 
munition that each corps could fire. 
Until the end of July First Army's con- 
trol was all-embracing, for, as the highest 
U.S. command on the Continent, it en- 
joyed complete control over the entire 
supply machinery from the water's edge 
to the front line, determining priorities 
in discharge and the location and level 
of reserves. When the 12th Army Group 
became operational on 1 August it con- 
tinued to allocate ammunition in es- 
sentially the same manner, although it 
increased the rationing period to eight 
days. Under the system an Ammunition 
Allocation Committee composed of rep- 
resentatives from the G-3, G-4, artillery, 
and ordnance sections of 12 th Army 
Group (later augmented to include rep- 
resentatives from SHAEF and the Com- 
munications Zone), met periodically and, 
on the basis of availability forecasts pre- 
sented by the Communications Zone, 
established expenditure rates which 
would provide ammunition for tactical 
missions and the build-up of the desired 
reserve. Army group then authorized 
the armies to draw whatever ammuni- 
tion was required to build their reserves 
to the authorized level, but prohibited 
them from firing more than a specific 
number of rounds of each type during 
the allocation period. 

This system, though a model of sim- 
plicity, had several weaknesses and did 
not conform to doctrine laid down in 
field service regulations. For one thing, 
with a Communications Zone established 
on the Continent, the army group, unlike 
the First Army in the first two months, 



lacked control over the physical distribu- 
tion of ammunition and the disposition 
of reserves. While it prescribed maxi- 
mum expenditure rates and supply levels, 
it had to depend on the Communications 
Zone for figures on ammunition avail- 
ability. If those figures proved unreliable 
and shortages developed, the army which 
first learned of the threatened deficit 
might monopolize most of the stock of a 
particular item by requisitioning the 
quantities needed to achieve its author- 
ized reserve, as had actually occurred 
in the case of First Army. Secondly, the 
system made no provision for informing 
the armies on supply beyond the next 
allocation period, with the result that 
all long-range planning was clouded with 
uncertainty. Finally, the system pro- 
vided no incentive for conserving am- 
munition during quiet periods. It thus 
encouraged wasteful firing, for all am- 
munition unexpended at the end of an 
allocation period reverted to army group 
control. Those that did not shoot up 
their ration felt justified in falsifying 
their expenditure reports in order to 
carry over their savings into the next 
period as a rainy day reserve. 22 

Twelfth Army Group took the first 
step in overhauling the entire control 
procedure on 11 October, when it allo- 
cated the existing stocks of critical items 
on the Continent and established credits 
for the three armies in the various depots. 
Ten days later it announced the adoption 
of a credit system on a permanent basis, 
to become operative as soon as stocks 
had again been rebuilt in the forward 

"Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 54-56; Mechanics of Sup- 
ply in Fast Moving Situations, Gen Bd Rpt 27, p. 

depots, a step expected to be completed 
early in November. Under this system 
the army group proposed to continue 
making allocations from time to time as 
before on the basis of activity factors de- 
termined by the G-3. Using these alloca- 
tions it intended to establish credits for 
each command in designated COMZ de- 
pots, copies of the credits being furnished 
each command and the regulating sta- 
tion serving it. The system's main fea- 
ture, in contrast with past practice, was 
that credits would henceforth be written 
only against ammunition physically pres- 
ent in forward depots. In other words, 
allocations would be based on stocks 
actually available for issue and not on 
quantities on manifest or on expected 
deliveries. For the next few weeks the 
armies' tonnage allocations were to be 
used to rebuild ADSEC ammunition de- 
pots—mainly at Liege, Verdun, and Sois- 
sons— from which the armies were then 
to draw on their accounts. The new sys- 
tem gave the army group a more com- 
plete control of the distribution of avail- 
able stocks and gave reasonable assur- 
ance to the armies that ammunition allo- 
cated to them would actually be avail- 
able. The new procedure also provided 
an incentive to save, and thus encouraged 
prudent shooting, for all ammunition al- 
located to the armies remained to their 
credit whether expended or not. 23 

The armies still regarded the system 
which the army group outlined on 21 
October as defective in two respects: 
like the earlier rationing system, it did 
not provide the armies with informa- 
tion on future supply, so necessary for 

23 12 A Gp Rpt of Opns, XII, 141-442; Gen Bd 
Rpt 58, pp. 57-58; Gen Bd Rpt 27, pp. 77, 83. 



planning purposes; and, because the 
army group still imposed maximum ex- 
penditure rates, it gave the armies little 
latitude in the use of their ammunition. 
Under the system just announced, ra- 
tioning was to be retained as part of the 
credit system. This meant in effect that 
the armies would be given allocations of 
ammunition but told that they could 
only fire at certain rates. 

The army group artillery section, 
headed by Brig. Gen. John H. Hinds, 
had repeatedly recommended that am- 
munition be allocated on a credit basis 
and without limitation on its use. Gen- 
eral Hinds argued that rationing was 
contrary to the basic principle of giving 
a commander a mission and the means 
without dictating the details of method. 
The armies, he maintained, were closer 
in both time and space to the battle 
than the army group headquarters, whose 
only justification for continuing ration- 
ing was its knowledge of resupply pros- 
pects. He urged the elimination of ex- 
penditure limitations, therefore, and pro- 
posed instead that the armies be kept 
fully informed of the resupply situation, 
and that they be permitted to use their 
own judgment as to how to expend the 
ammunition made available to them. 24 

On 5 November the army group 
adopted this proposal and replaced the 
former limitation on expenditures with 
a periodic forecast of future supply. It 
now began issuing thirty-day forecasts 
to the armies, taking into account all 
ammunition on hand and becoming due. 

"Memo, Hinds for G-3, G-4, and Ord Sec 12 A 
Gp, 4 Nov 44, sub: Ammo Estimates, and Ltr, Hinds 
to Brig Gen C. E. Hart, FUSA Arty Off, 8 Nov 44, 
12 A Gp 471/1 Ammunition Allocations; 12 A Gp 
Ord Sec Jnl, 4 Nov 44; Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 58-59. 

Each forecast was divided into three ten- 
day periods. The amounts shown for the 
first period constituted a firm commit- 
ment. This was divided between the 
three armies and credits for each were 
established in the forward depots. The 
amounts shown for the two succeeding 
periods constituted estimates of resup- 
ply issued for planning purposes alone. 25 
Ammunition could still be drawn only 
against established credits. Forecasts 
therefore had to be issued every ten days, 
consisting of an actual allocation in the 
form of credits, and revised estimates 
on future supply. In its first forecast, 
issued on 6 November, only a few days 
before the November offensive, the army 
group informed the armies that it did 
not plan to establish any reserves of its 
own and warned that they must now 
use their own discretion in determining 
the scale of firing and in establishing 
reserves to take care of fluctuations in 
the flow of supply and to meet emergen- 
cies. 26 

Neither the credit system nor its ac- 
companying forecast procedure guaran- 
teed an adequate supply of ammunition. 
But a true credit system had at last been 
worked out along the lines prescribed in 
field service regulations in which allo- 
cations were based on actual availability, 
in which the army group possessed ade- 
quate command control over the distri- 
bution of ammunition, and in which the 

25 Credits and forecasts were based mainly on ac- 
tivity factors prescribed by the G-3 and by the 
distribution of weapons. 

26 Ltr, 12 A Gp to FUSA, 6 Nov 44, sub: Ammo 
Supply of FUSA, FUSA 471 Ammunition lAr— 15, 
Drawer 2; Ltr, 12 A Gp to NUSA, 6 Nov 44, sub: 
Ammo Supply of NUSA, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition, 
V; 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 5 Nov 44. 



armies enjoyed the maximum freedom 
in employing the means placed at their 
disposal. 27 The armies considered the 
new system a godsend. 28 Whether it 
could be made to operate successfully 
and a return to rationing avoided de- 
pended, in part, on the prudence with 
which they exercised their newly won 

The Communications Zone, in the 
meantime, had gone forward with its 
program of accelerating discharge and 
restocking forward depots. It initially 
estimated that its efforts would not be 
reflected at the guns until 7 November, 
although General Crawford thought this 
unduly pessimistic and believed the date 
could be advanced as much as two weeks. 
In any case General Bradley favored re- 
stricting expenditures until a flow of 
ammunition sufficient to support a sus- 
tained offensive was assured. 29 Achieving 
the target of 6,000 tons per day depended 
largely on what the weather would per- 
mit, particularly at Utah and Omaha, 
and when additional berths at Morlaix 
and Le Havre could be brought in. The 
necessity of having the equivalent of 
twelve ships discharging at all times was 
predicated on an unloading rate of 500 
tons per ship per day. 

Unloadings improved immediately 
after SHAEF ordered the step-up on 1 1 
October, but the discharge target was not 
achieved until the 23d, when 7,617 tons 
were offloaded. The peak performance 

27 See FM 100-10, Field Service Regulations, Ad- 
ministration, 15 November 1943, pars. 75-77. 

28 Ltr, Col Edward T. Williams, TUSA Arty Off, 
to Hinds, u Nov 44, 12 A Gp 471/1 Ammunition 
Allocations; Gen Bd Rpt 58, p. 63, citing a state- 
ment by the FUSA ammunition officer. 

29 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 19 Oct 44. 

was registered on 4 and 5 November, 
when discharges exceeded 10,000 tons. 
By that time the Communications Zone 
had reduced the backlog of ammunition 
ships in the theater, and unloadings again 
fell off. Discharge thereafter was to de- 
pend on the rate of arrivals from the 
United States. In the twenty-five-day pe- 
riod from 19 October to 12 November 
discharges averaged 6,614 tons. 30 

Much of the tonnage discharged in 
October was shipped directly to the for- 
ward areas. To reduce movement time 
from port to advance depot the Commu- 
nications Zone decided to bulk-load 
trains for dispatch to the armies and the 
Advance Section, thus bypassing the base 
depots where classification and segrega- 
tion were normally carried out. While 
this practice created a new problem in 
the forward areas— the segregation of 
ammunition by lot number— it speeded 
the build-up of stocks in both army and 
ADSEC depots. 31 There was some fear 
at first that the emphasis on ammunition 
shipments might adversely affect the de- 
livery of Class II and IV supplies. But 
transportation improved steadily in these 
weeks, and the supply of other items did 
not suffer. 32 By the time of the Novem- 
ber offensive ADSEC depots contained 
nearly 60,000 tons of ammunition com- 
pared with 3,500 tons a month before, 
and the armies held five units of fire in 

30 Memo, Clark for G-4 SHAEF, 15 Nov 44, Gen 
Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artil- 
lery; 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 11 and 18 Nov 44. 

31 Ltr, Nisley to G-4 12 A Gp, 30 Oct 44, sub: 
Estimate of Ord Class V Situation, ADSEC 381 
Supply Plan. 

32 Memo, Hass for G— 4 12 A Gp, 14 Nov 44, sub: 
Supply of Class II and IV, 12 A Gp Supplies, Misc, 



Street Fighting in Aachen, 75 October 1944. 

most of the major items of field artillery 
ammunition. 33 

The crisis in ammunition supply left 
its mark on the fighting in October. The 
shortage of ammunition, more than any 
other factor, determined the character 
of tactical operations that month. Gen- 
eral Bradley had immediately recognized 
that major offensive operations were out 
of the question until minimum reserves 
were reconstituted and a steady flow of 
ammunition was assured. Except for the 
action leading to the capture of Aachen 
by the First Army, therefore, and minor 
probing attacks, activity was relatively 
light along the entire front occupied by 
U.S. forces. 

While the ammunition shortage re- 
stricted the operations of all three armies 

33 ADSEC Operations History, App. E; Gen Bd 
Rpt 58, p. 29. 

in the 12 th Army Group, expenditure 
reports show that Third Army operated 
under the severest handicap. In one of 
the worst weeks of the ammunition fam- 
ine—from 15 to 21 October— firing by 
the 105-mm. howitzer, the main artillery 
support weapon of the division, was held 
to 1.1 rounds per gun per day of action 
against a desired expenditure rate of 
60, and a total of only 3,401 rounds was 
fired. First Army, by comparison, fired at 
the rate of 30 rounds per weapon per 
day and expended a total of 109469 
rounds. Third Army's 155-mm. howitzers 
fired at the rate of 4 rounds per day, 
expending a total of 553 rounds, while 
First Army's fired at the rate of 1 5 rounds 
per gun per day, expending a total of 
24,341 rounds. Much of First Army's 
heavier firing was done in the attacks 
on Aachen, and Third Army's only major 
action in October— the attack on Metz— 


Table 5 — Artillery Ammunition Expenditures, 15-21 October 1944 


First Army 

Third Army 

Ninth Army 


per day 
per gun 
in action 


per day 
per gun 
in action 


per day 
per gun 
in action 

105-mm. howitzer M2 







4. S-inch gun 







155-mm. howitzer „ 







155-mm. gun self-propelled 







155-mm. gun Ml 







8-inch howitzer 







8-inch gun __ 







240-mm. howitzer 







No data. 

Source: Memo, Col T. B. Hedekin, 12 A Gp Arty Sec, for G-3 12 A Gp, 19 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition General. 

had to be called off for lack of ammuni- 

Comparative expenditure figures for 
the major artillery weapons in the three 
armies for that week are given in Table 
5. In the period from 11 October to 7 
November Third Army's expenditure in 
all calibers, which totaled 76,325 rounds, 
barely equaled its expenditures on a 
single day at the height of the Ardennes 
battle in December. 34 

The small ration necessarily forced 
drastic restrictions on the employment 
of field artillery. In the XX Corps (Third 
Army), for example, the artillery com- 
mander issued instructions enjoining the 
use of artillery for anything but counter- 
attacks endangering the battle position, 
counterbattery against active enemy 
guns, and observed fire on only the most 
lucrative targets. 35 Since 75-mm., 76-mm., 
3-inch, and 90-mm. tank and antitank 
ammunition and 40-mm. antiaircraft am- 
munition were fairly plentiful, all arm- 

34 TUSA AAR, II, Arty, 32. 
38 Gen Bd Rpt 58, p. 28. 

ies turned to tank destroyers, tanks, and 
antiaircraft weapons for employment in 
their secondary role as artillery. 36 

Both First and Third Armies also 
made maximum use of captured enemy 
guns and ammunition, in some cases 
equipping American units with German 
weapons, like the 10.5-cm. howitzer, and 
firing captured ammunition, in others 
using enemy ammunition in American 
weapons, as was successfully done in the 
case of the 155-mm. howitzer and the 
81 -mm. mortar. In the last week of Octo- 
ber 80 percent of all the ammunition 
fired by the XX Corps in Third Army 
consisted of captured ammunition. On 
10 October XX Corps in the course of 
its attacks on Maizieres les Metz fired a 
time-on-target mission using German 88- 
mm. guns and 105-mm. howitzers, Rus- 

3a Ibid.; Ltr, Kean to Corps Comdrs FUSA, 15 
Oct 44, sub: Fid Arty Firing, FUSA 471 iAr-20; 
TUSA AAR, II, Ord, 14; Ltr, Lt Col John Ray, 
FUSA Ammo Off, to FUSA Ord Off, 12 Nov 44, 
sub: Ammo Supply Rpt, Western Europe, 1-31 
Oct 44, Gen Bd file 471/1 Arty Sec, Entry 39, Box 



sian 76.2-mm. guns, and French 155-mm. 
howitzers, in addition to American 155- 
mm. guns and tanks and tank destroy- 
ers. 37 

Despite these expedients the shortage 
was seriously felt all along the American 
front. Unit after unit reported its in- 
ability to take targets of opportunity 
under fire, and complained that the in- 
ability to use its artillery took the teeth 
out of its attacks. The artillery officer of 
the 35th Division (Third Army) re- 
ported that one of the division's regi- 
ments had been twice repulsed for lack 
of artillery support in attempts to take 
an objective. 38 The commanding gen- 
eral of the VI Corps (Seventh Army), 
operating in the St. Die area in northern 
Alsace, reported that he could provide 
adequate artillery support in the attack 
to only one division at a time. 39 Artillery 
support was particularly important dur- 
ing bad weather because of the absence 
of air support. Bad weather also resulted 
in more unobserved fire, which in turn 
involved greater expenditure. 

In the entire period of operations on 
the Continent the month of October pro- 
vided the clearest case of supply defi- 
ciency thwarting tactical operations. In 
one sense the ammunition shortage epit- 
omized the dire effects of the pursuit, 
for its immediate causes were largely at- 
tributable to the inadequacy of trans- 

31 Ammunition Supply and Operations, European 
Campaign, Gen Bd Rpt 100, p. 23 and App. 7; 
TUSA AAR, II, Arty, 11; Gen Bd Rpt 58, p. 28. 

38 See observer reports submitted to Maj. Gen. 
Everett S. Hughes by Lt. Gen. Ben Lear on the 
adequacy of supply arrangements in the ETO. 
ETO 400 Supplies, Services, and Equipment. 

39 Rpt, Col Louis T. Heath, G-3 Arty Sec 6 A 
Gp, to G-3, 23 Nov 44, Sixth Army Group History. 

port and discharge capacity which had 
resulted from the dash across France. 

(2) Contention With the War 

Theater officials, while attempting to 
solve the immediate crisis by accelerat- 
ing the unloading of ships, realized that 
the ammunition problem had another 
side. A more ominous shortage threat- 
ened, particularly in the heavier calibers 
and in mortar ammunition, because of 
inadequate shipments from the United 

The theater had forewarned the War 
Department of rising requirements for 
ammunition as early as March 1944, 
when it raised its estimates of future 
needs substantially over the figures it 
had presented in January, and again in 
May, when the tactical commands had 
adopted new "agreed rates/* which the 
theater thereafter used to substantiate 
its requests for future shipments. Just 
before D Day the War Department had 
given assurance that it would meet the 
theater's ' 'initial requirements," al- 
though it predicted shortages in 60- and 
81 -mm. mortar, 105-mm. howitzer, 8- 
inch, 240-mm. howitzer, and 155-mm. 
gun ammunition at D plus 30 and con- 
tinued shortages in certain categories at 
D plus 60. The Communications Zone 
in turn had informed the tactical com- 
mands that they could depend on re- 
ceiving their requirements in virtually 
all types of ammunition through D plus 
70. 40 

As early as July the theater had been 
forced to request additional shipments 

40 See Logistical Support I, 537-38, and Gen Bd 
Rpt 58, pp. 9-10. 



of several types, and early in August the 
Supreme Commander made a personal 
appeal for additional releases of the two 
most critical types— 155-mm. howitzer 
and 81 -mm. mortar ammunition. The 
War Department was able to provide 
some relief in these categories, but by 
mid-September U.S. forces faced more 
serious shortages, mainly as the result of 
their tactical successes. Late in the month 
the theater, pointing out that U.S. forces 
had advanced much faster than expected 
and now faced the heavily fortified 
West Wall, reported an urgent need for 
ammunition in the heavier calibers— 8- 
inch howitzer and gun and 240-mm. how- 
itzer. All three types had already been 
rationed for several weeks and, accord- 
ing to the theater, if expended at the de- 
sired rates— that is, in concentrations re- 
quired to break through the German 
defenses— would be exhausted in from 
fifteen to twenty-five days. 41 The theater 
concluded that only the immediate ship- 
ment of ammunition already set up for 
future loadings would alleviate the cur- 
rent shortage. It asked that approxi- 
mately 90,000 rounds be dispatched on 
two fast freighters without delay. 42 

Within twenty-four hours of the re- 
quest the War Department announced 
that it would meet the demand for 8- 
inch howitzer ammunition in full and 
would come within a few hundred 
rounds of filling the need for 240-mm. 
howitzer ammunition, but that it would 

41 The Twelfth Army Group had asked for a 
supply adequate to permit firing 8-inch howitzer, 
8-inch gun, and 240-mm. howitzer ammunition at 
the rate of 25, 15, and 15 rounds per gun per day, 
respectively, as against the current ration of 13, 10, 
and 11 rounds. 

42 Cbl EX-49415, COMZ to AGWAR, 23 Sep 44, 
12 A Gp Ammunition, Allocations and Credits, I. 

fall far short of the requirement for 8- 
inch gun ammunition, in which produc- 
tion was very low. 43 With these releases 
the War Department left no doubt that 
it was according the highest operational 
priority to the European theater, for 
these shipments exhausted the stocks of 
these items in the zone of interior and 
entailed the diversion of all October and 
November commitments to other thea- 
ters and the suspension of training of 
newly formed heavy artillery units in the 
United States. 44 

The late September releases in the 
heavy calibers went far toward alleviat- 
ing the shortage in the theater and, to- 
gether with the speed-up in unloadings, 
put the theater in a much improved posi- 
tion for the November offensive. 

Two weeks later— on 14 October— the 
theater submitted its requirements for 
November loading and thereby precipi- 
tated a new and more voluminous ex- 
change with the War Department over 
the reasonableness of the requests. The 
theater, recalling an argument which had 
begun in August over ammunition requi- 
sitioning practices, and apparently antici- 
pating difficulties, took pains to empha- 
size that its requirements had been care- 
fully computed and that they should not 

43 The War Department announced shipments of 
56,250 rounds of 8-inch howitzer ammunition 
against the request for 55,511, 21,490 rounds of 
240-mm. howitzer ammunition against the request 
for 22,130 (a shortage of 640 rounds), but only 
3,848 rounds of 8-inch gun ammunition against 
the requirement of 11,023. Total production of the 
last in September came to only 5,000 rounds. 

44 Cbl, Marshall to Eisenhower, 24 Sep 44, Memo, 
Marshall for Byrnes, 25 Sep 44, and Memo for 
Record, 24 Sep 44, sub: Request for Heavy Arty 
Ammo (ETO), all in OPD 471 ETO Sec. I, Cases 
1-16; Cbl WX-41189, AGWAR to Larkin, 4 Oct 
44, SHAEF AG 471-5 Summary of Ammunition 



be judged on the basis of past expendi- 
tures, since firing had been restricted 
from almost the beginning because of 
the nonavailability of ammunition. It ad- 
mitted that the shortages had resulted 
primarily from unloading and transpor- 
tation difficulties within the theater. But 
it was confident that these problems 
would soon be overcome and predicted 
that expenditures would certainly in- 
crease. 45 

The War Department was not im- 
pressed with the theater's explanations 
and proceeded to deny a large portion 
of its requests on the ground of either 
unavailability or lack of justification for 
the demands. In the case of 155-mm. 
howitzer and gun ammunition the War 
Department stated that it was providing 
only 56 and 36 percent respectively of 
the theater's requests because they were 
in excess of both the authorized theater 
level based on the War Department day 
of supply and the War Department allo- 
cation of those two critically short items. 
For the same reasons it offered to ship 
only 26 and 51 percent respectively of 
the theaters requests for 81 -mm. mortar 
and 105-mm. howitzer ammunition. In 
some cases the hard fact of nonavailabil- 
ity simply precluded shipments in the 
amounts desired. The War Department 
pointed out that the theater was already 
getting all the 8-inch gun and 240-mm. 
howitzer ammunition and almost all the 
8-inch howitzer ammunition being pro- 
duced, and that its request for 105-mm. 
howitzer ammunition— 5,328,000 rounds 
—was two and one-half times the total 
October production. In other categories 

45 Cbl EX-54310, COMZ to AGWAR, 14 Oct 44, 
SHAEF AG 471-5 Summary of Ammunition Posi- 

releases could not be increased substan- 
tially without serious detriment to other 
theaters. Finally, ignoring the theater's 
explanation of its unloading difficulties, 
it again pointed to the excessive number 
of vessels awaiting discharge in Euro- 
pean waters. 46 

The theater promptly responded with 
a more detailed justification of its de- 
mands. Regarding the problem of idle 
ammunition ships, it noted that under 
the recently inaugurated speed-up pro- 
gram all vessels in European waters 
would be unloaded in twenty or thirty 
days. It explained, furthermore, that al- 
though quantities of certain items pres- 
ently afloat—particularly 105-mm. howitz- 
ers, 155-mm. howitzer, 8-inch gun, and 
240-mm. howitzer ammunition—were suf- 
ficient to meet current shortages, this was 
only because past expenditures had 
either been limited by rationing and in- 
adequate transportation, or had been 
low because of the nature of operations 
during the pursuit. Ordnance officials 
presented figures to show that quantities 
afloat would not be sufficient to cover 
shortages had expenditures not been re- 
stricted, and that expenditures at the 
armies' desired rates, or even the author- 
ized War Department day of supply 
rates, could not have been supported 
from War Department releases. In brief, 
shipments from the United States had 
fallen far short of the theater s requests. 

The SHAEF G-4 estimated that all 
ammunition then afloat would be ashore 
by 3 November, but that there still 
would be shortages in all categories at 
that time. On that date, in other words, 

4C Cbl WX-48152, AGWAR to SHAEF, 18 Oct 44, 
SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition. 



the immediate cause of the deficit would 
shift from inadequate discharges to short- 
ages in the theater. In a memorandum 
for record General Crawford noted that 
the theater had begun to warn the War 
Department of expected shortages in 
81 -mm. mortar and medium artillery 
ammunition as early as January 1944, 
and expressed the opinion that the War 
Department should by this time have 
taken action to increase production. 
Most exasperating of all from the point 
of view of the theater was the War De- 
partment's repeated reference to the fact 
that past expenditures had been below 
the day of supply rate, which ignored the 
theater's argument that past expendi- 
tures had been restricted and should not 
be used as a measure of future needs. 47 

The War Department's challenging 
questions were inspired in part by its 
knowledge of production shortages in 
the United States and in part by the sus- 
picion that the theaters requests were 
not fully justified. The theater had re- 
peatedly agitated for higher day of sup- 
ply rates— the rates on which ammunition 
requisitions and the accounting of stocks 
in the theater were based. Both theater 
and War Department officials had recog- 
nized that operational experience on the 
Continent would probably dictate revi- 
sions for some items of ammunition. The 
theater, after consulting with the field 
forces, had recommended certain changes 
as early as 2 1 June despite its lack of 

4T Cbl S-63033, SHAEF to AGWAR, 19 Oct 44, 
Ltr, Crawford to Handy, so Oct 44, sub: Rpt on 
Ammo in Short Supply, and Memo for Record, 
Crawford, 19 Oct 44, all in SHAEF G-4 471 Am- 
munition; Report on Ammunition in Short Supply, 
prep in Office Chief Ord Off COMZ, 17 Oct 44, 
Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field 

conclusive experiential data at that 
time. The War Department granted 
some of the desired revisions in August, 
but it rejected others as unjustified either 
by expected combat activity or by ex- 
penditure reports from the Mediter- 
ranean area. 48 

In a sense all subsequent discussion of 
changes in the day of supply rates was 
academic, for dominating the War De- 
partment's attitude was the grim fact 
that current production in the United 
States simply could not meet the mount- 
ing demands from overseas theaters. In 
fact, the August revisions did not in 
reality go into effect. The War Depart- 
ment approved them with the warning 
that ammunition was not immediately 
available in sufficient amounts to permit 
shipments at the new rates, and cau- 
tioned the theater that the increases 
should in no way be considered as a 
basis for requests to achieve maximum 
authorized levels in the theater. 49 More- 
over, there had been no real test of the 
adequacy of current rates, for ammuni- 
tion was never supplied at the estab- 
lished rates. Late in September, when 
the 12th Army Group asked the armies 
for recommended changes in the supply 
rates based on their combat experience 
thus far, First Army replied that it did 
not feel competent to propose changes, 
for there was no way of knowing whether 
the authorized rates would have been 
adequate in view of the fact that ammu- 

48 Ltr, AGWAR to CG ETO, 25 Aug 44* sub: 
Estimated Ammo Requirements, EUCOM 471/1 
Ammunition Policy. The new rates were officially 
communicated to the theater on 1 September 1944. 
Ltr, Secy of War to CG ETO, 1 Sep 44, sub: Day 
of Supply for Ammo, ADSEC471 Ammunition. 

49 Ltr, AGWAR to CG ETO, 25 Aug 44. 



nition had never been supplied at those 
rates. 50 

Fundamental to the arguments over 
the adequacy of ammunition supply, and 
tending to confirm War Department 
doubts as to the legitimacy of the thea- 
ter's requests were the differences in 
interpretation of the ground rules gov- 
erning the calculation of requirements 
to cover shipping and distribution time 
and, to a lesser extent, the accounting of 
stocks actually in the pipeline. The same 
problem had arisen in connection with 
major Class II and IV items in which 
the loss rates were unpredictable, such 
as tanks. 51 The War Department had 
authorized ETOUSA to have between 
forty-five and seventy-five days of supply 
of ammunition on hand in the theater. 
Experience in the first two months, as 
the theater had pointed out as early as 
August, had shown that a minimum of 
fifteen days was required for discharge 
and shipment to a depot before ammuni- 
tion could be considered available for 
issue. Interruptions in supply, losses from 
enemy action, and variations in expendi- 
ture further reduced the quantities avail- 
able in the forward areas. Thus, al- 
though as many as seventy-five days of 
supply plus the number of days of supply 
representing the shipping time might be 
released to the port of embarkation, 
there was no assurance that the mini- 
mum of forty-five days of supply would 
actually be available for issue on the 
Continent. Ammunition in the zone of 
interior or on manifest, the theater ar- 

^Ltr, 12 A Gp to Armies, 23 Sep 44, sub: Day 
of Supply for Ammo, with replies, 12 A Gp 471 
Ammunition Day of Supply. 

51 See Logistical Support I, 522-23, and see above, 
Ch. VIII, Sec. 3. 

gued, was not an asset until received. 
To achieve even the minimum level re- 
quired for adequate support of the field 
forces necessitated that shipments be 
based on the seventy-five day author- 
ized level plus anticipated expenditures 
through the date of arrival in the theater. 
Since requirements were placed three 
months in advance, therefore, they in- 
cluded not only quantities needed to 
achieve the authorized level, but ex- 
penditures expected from the time the 
requisition was placed until the time of 
delivery. This explained why requests 
exceeded the level based on the War 
Department day of supply rate. 52 

Furthermore, the theater had not 
counted basic loads of ammunition— the 
amounts which individuals and unit ve- 
hicles were allowed to carry— as part of 
the theater's assets. To include them, the 
theater argued, only distorted the true 
status of ammunition supply. Ammuni- 
tion in the hands of troops, it main- 
tained, was lost insofar as theater stock- 
ages were concerned, for it was a frozen 
asset which could not be moved from 

62 Ltr, ETO to ASF, 31 Aug 44, sub: Ammo 
Rqmts for October Loading, EUCOM 471 Alloca- 
tions of Ammunition, II; Cbl WARX-26353, WD 
to ETO, 6 Sep 44, Cbls, SS&P Ping Div 201.02, 
A46-371; Cbl 8-63033, SHAEF to AGWAR, 19 Oct 
44. A later analysis of ammunition shipments cover- 
ing the period July 1944-January 1945 showed that 
an average of 54 days elapsed between the sub- 
mission of a requisition on the zone of interior and 
the arrival of the first rounds in theater waters, 
and that an additional 24 days elapsed before the 
ammunition actually became available for issue: 14 
to discharge, 7 to move to an intermediate or ad- 
vance section, and 3 to inventory and transmit rec- 
ords to the army group. An average of 78 days 
therefore elapsed before the first round was issued 
as the result of a theater request. Memo, Lt. Col. 
J. B. Goodell, Deputy Chief, Ammo Supply Div 12 
A Gp Ord, for ExO, 29 Jan 45, sub: Levels of 
Supply in ETOUSA, 12 A Gp 319.1 Reports. 



one unit to another to meet changing 
tactical conditions. Moreover, basic loads 
represented substantial quantities when 
compared with the seventy-five-day level, 
ranging from five to ten days in the case 
of artillery ammunition and from ten 
days upward in the case of small arms 
ammunition. To count these as part of 
the total theater supply level would limit 
the actual reserves to a dangerous level. 
The theater protested strongly against 
policy. 53 

These interpretations of the rules were 
unacceptable to the War Department. It 
agreed with the theater that ammunition 
afloat between the port of embarkation 
and ETOUSA ports should not be 
counted against the theater's authorized 
level. For accounting purposes it con- 
sidered ammunition as part of the thea- 
ter's stocks only after the vessels had 
come under theater control. But it did 
not agree with the theater's insistence on 
maintaining a level of forty-five to sev- 
enty-five days physically on the Conti- 
nent, and it rejected the argument that 
basic loads should not be included as 
part of total theater stocks. The War 
Department had intended that the au- 
thorized maximum level— seventy-five 
days in ETOUSA's case— should repre- 
sent all stocks under the theater's con- 
trol whether afloat or in depots. It ap- 
peared that for each thirty-day period 
the theater was requisitioning three 
months' requirements without taking 
into account the War Department's own 
system for keeping in the pipeline the 
amounts necessary to offset time for proc- 

53 Cbl EX-60321, Lee to AGWAR, 4 Nov 44, 
SHAEF AG 471-5 Summary of Ammunition Posi- 
tion; Cbl £-52905, Lee to AGWAR, 7 Oct 44, 
EUCOM 471/1 Ammunition Policy, 

essing orders and shipping. By its own 
calculation the War Department con- 
tended that there already was enough 
ammunition en route or scheduled for 
loading to maintain the theater's level 
until 1 December. 54 

For the moment, at least, this argu- 
ment was unresolved. In the meantime 
General Eisenhower, faced with the de- 
mands for the November offensive, per- 
sonally cabled General Marshall on 20 
and 22 October in an attempt to con- 
vince the War Department of the gravity 
of the theater's ammunition situation. In 
the view of the Supreme Commander, 
three facts stood out: Certain types of 
ammunition were unavailable because of 
insufficient production in the United 
States; the War Department in the past 
had not released the quantities re- 
quested; and now the War Department 
was also cutting down on the lift allo- 
cated to the European theater. 55 

Once more General Eisenhower em- 
phasized that the theater could not be 
assured of an adequate supply as long 
as shipments were based on past expendi- 
tures in view of the necessity to ration 
heavy calibers since shortly after D Day. 
It appeared clear to him that every ex- 
pedient must be applied to step up pro- 
duction. Referring to the speed-up in 
unloadings, he stated that that program 
could be supported for the time being 
with the ships then on hand and the 
twenty arriving in November, but not 
beyond the end of the month in view of 
the cut in sailings. General Eisenhower 
stressed that the uncertainty of ammuni- 
tion supply was worrying commanders 

54 Cbl W-49721, AGWAR to SHAEF, 20 Oct 44, 
SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition. 
65 See above, Ch. IV, Sec. 4. 



at all levels, and that tactical plans for 
the immediate future hinged on the as- 
surance of an adequate supply. He urged 
the immediate shipment of 75,000 tons 
of mortar and artillery ammunition, 
promising the highest unloading priority 
and a speedy turnaround of shipping. 56 

Once more the Supreme Command- 
er's personal appeal brought results. The 
Army Chief of Staff promptly assured 
General Eisenhower that everyone in the 
War Department was cognizant of the 
theater's problem and realized the need 
for "generous supply and firm commit- 
ments." General Marshall saw no pros- 
pect of increasing the October and early 
November loadings in the critical cali- 
bers—that is, 105-mm. and larger and 
81 -mm. mortar ammunition. But he be- 
lieved that substantially all of the the- 
ater's needs to the end of December 
could be met, and he promised that 
ETOUSA would get the maximum quan- 
tities becoming available, subject only 
to meeting the minimum operational re- 
quirements of other theaters. 

Two aspects of the problem still con- 
cerned him. He pointed to the fact that 
the nineteen ships already in European 
waters plus those en route would give 
the theater 3,000,000 rounds of 105-mm. 
ammunition and 1,200,000 rounds of 81- 
mm. mortar ammunition, implying that 
the situation was not as desperate as 
suggested. In addition, the Chief of Staff 
deplored the divided responsibility for 
supply of the northern and southern 
forces in the theater. Requisitioning by 
the North African theater for the 6th 
Army Group made duplication possible, 

06 Cbls S-63259 and EU56546, Eisenhower to Mar- 
shall, 20 and 22 Oct 44, OPD Cbl Files. 

and, in the case of critical items, might 
result in unnecessary deficiencies else- 
where. He asked that requisitions sub- 
mitted by General Devers to the North 
African theater for the southern armies 
be cleared and approved by the European 
theater before submission to the War 
Department. Better still, he suggested 
that a unified supply system with undi- 
vided responsibility would be welcome. 57 
Meanwhile he assured General Eisen- 
hower that the top officials of the War 
Department from the Secretary of War 
down were personally working on the 
ammunition problem. 58 

(3) The November Offensive and the 
Bull Mission 

In the meantime Generals Bradley and 
Devers launched the November offen- 
sive with the ammunition which the 
armies had so painstakingly accumu- 
lated and husbanded during October. 
Early in the month the 12 th Army Group 
announced the activity factors which 
were to govern the distribution of all 

67 Special shipments had only recently been made 
to southern France for overland delivery to troops 
in the north, and additional shipments were made 
to that area for troops transferred from the 12th 
to the 6th Army Group. The War Department be- 
lieved these to be duplicate requisitions. Responsi- 
bility for the supply of the 6th Army Group was 
actually assumed by the Communications Zone on 
20 November, and requisitions from the two army 
groups were henceforth to be consolidated and sub- 
mitted by the Communications Zone. Memo for 
Record, unsigned, 17 Oct 44, sub: Status of Arty 
Ammo, OPD 471 ETO Sec. II, Cases 17-30; Ltr, 
COMZ to SAC, 25 Nov 44, sub: 6th A Gp Ammo 
Supply, SHAEF AG 471-5 Summary of Ammuni- 
tion Position. 

88 Cbl W-50677, Marshall to Eisenhower, 22 Oct 
44, Eyes Only Cbls, Smith Papers; Cbl W-5ioig, 
Marshall to Eisenhower, 23 Oct 44, and Ltr, Lutes 
to Crawford, 25 Oct 44, in SHAEF G-4 471 Am- 



ammunition on hand on 7 November 
and becoming available in the next three 
weeks. For active divisions in the First 
and Ninth Armies the G-3 assigned a 
factor of .60, for active divisions in Third 
Army a factor of .40, and for all inactive 
divisions a factor of .25. On this basis 
the number of active and inactive divi- 
sions in each army determined that 50. 1 
percent of the ammunition would go to 
First Army, 22.8 percent to the Ninth, 
and 27.1 to the Third. This allocation 
did not take into account the variation 
in the number of guns in each army, and 
the rates of fire therefore bore little rela- 
tionship to the activity factor. But since 
it did take into consideration the num- 
ber of divisions, it ensured that an active 
division on the First Army front would 
be supported by about the same number 
of rounds of ammunition as an active 
division in the Ninth Army's sector de- 
spite variations in the rates of fire for 
individual weapons. 59 

All five armies in the 12th and 6th 
Army Groups, including the U.S.-sup- 
ported First French Army, made fairly 
heavy expenditures of artillery ammuni- 
tion, particularly in the initial attacks. 
In the Third Army the XII and XX 
Corps, with Metz, and eventually the 
Saar as their objectives, did their most 
active firing since their commitment in 
August. For several days Third Army's 
540 105-mm. howitzers fired at the rate 
of about forty-five rounds per gun per 
day. Ninth Army's expenditures for the 
same weapon exceeded seventy rounds 
for a few days at the beginning of its at- 

68 Memo, Hinds for G-3, 9 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 
471/1 Ammunition Allocations; 12 A Gp Ord Sec 
Jnl, 10 Nov 44. 

tacks toward the Roer River. 60 Total 
expenditures of high explosive shells for 
the 105-mm. howitzer M2 in November 
came to 2,507,000 rounds, the highest 
expenditure of any month thus far. 61 

But ammunition was far from plenti- 
ful. In the north the knowledge that 
neighboring British units were better 
supplied at least partially explained the 
decision to place the American 84th Di- 
vision under the control of the British 
XXX Corps, which was better able to 
give it adequate artillery support. 62 First 
Army complained that only its VII 
Corps, driving toward the Roer, could 
fire "reasonable amounts." Third Army 
reported that its expenditure record 
merely reflected ammunition availabil- 
ity, not the rates at which the army de- 
sired to fire. In the Seventh Army, whose 
648 105-mm. howitzers fired at the high- 
est rate thus far—forty-nine rounds per 
weapon per day— the artillery officer ex- 
ercised a rigid control over expenditures, 
restricting firing immediately after the 
initial break-through in the Sarrebourg 
and Belfort areas in fear of future short- 
ages at the Siegfried Line and Rhine. 63 

Doubts over future supply were not 
unfounded. Even before the launching 
of the November attacks the theater had 
had additional warning that the ammu- 
nition crisis would continue. On 30 Octo- 
ber, only a week after its response to Gen- 

00 Memo, Hedekin, Arty Sec 12 A Gp, for SHAEF 
G-4 Ln Off, 21 Nov 44, 12 A. Gp 471 Ammunition 

81 History of Planning Division ASF, App. 18-A, 
P- 152* 

62 Conquer: The Story of Ninth Army, 1944-45, 
p. 83. 

63 Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 29, 32-33; TUSA AAR, 
II, Ord, 16; Memo, Col C. W. Stewart, Deputy 
Chief Current Opns Br G-4 SHAEF, for G-4, 25 
Jan 45, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition. 



eral Eisenhower's appeal, the War De- 
partment notified the theater that the 
recent demands from the European as 
well as other theaters had completely 
drained zone of interior stocks of certain 
items. In some cases releases had actually 
obligated total anticipated production 
through 10 November because of unfore- 
seen shortfalls in October production. 64 

A week later the War Department 
spelled out its warning in greater detail, 
informing the theater that despite in- 
creasing production, it had grave doubts 
about meeting ETOUSA's demands in 
the next three to six months. Current 
shipments, it noted, were being sched- 
uled directly from production lines to 
dockside, and did not equal the theater's 
anticipated rates of expenditure. Stocks 
already in the theater plus quantities en 
route thus represented total resources. 
The theater, the War Department cau- 
tioned, must plan its expenditures in the 
light of these facts, and with the full 
understanding that any expenditures in 
excess of the department's announced re- 
supply rate must be supported from the- 
ater reserves and could not be replaced 
from the United States. The War De- 
partment saw little possibility of im- 
provement within the next ninety days, 
for it estimated that any increase in pro- 
duction would be matched by the the- 
ater's rising troop strength. 65 

The War Department's response to 
the recent appeal had obviously been a 
stopgap measure which had required 
scraping the barrel of U.S. ammunition 
stocks. It had not altered long-range 

M Cbl WARX-54796, WD to ETO, 30 Oct 44, 
Cbls SSfcP Planning Div 201.02, A46-371. 

w Cbl WX-58388, Somervell to Eisenhower, 6 
Nov 44, SHAEF G-3 O&E 471 Ammunition. 

prospects. In view of the War Depart- 
ment's previous warnings the latest fore- 
cast therefore should hardly have occa- 
sioned surprise. But the argument in 
October over the reasonableness of 
ETOUSA's requests had obviously ob- 
scured, for the theater at least, the fact 
that ammunition simply was not avail- 
able in the desired quantities. Theater 
officials were incredulous over the latest 
forecast, and in expressing their disap- 
pointment repeated their previous argu- 
ment that past expenditures should not 
form the basis for computing the the- 
ater's needs, ignoring the hard fact of 
production shortfalls. 66 

A few days later the theater, seemingly 
unaware of the recent communications 
from the War Department, submitted 
its requirements for December loading 
on the basis of rates which it had recom- 
mended more than a month before. Gen- 
eral Somervell made no attempt to con- 
ceal his annoyance with the theater's 
action which, he said, "had been taken 
without any regard whatsoever to the 
information which had been supplied 
you." He suspected that either the the- 
ater was refusing to face reality or that 
its left hand did not know what its right 
was doing, and he asked that it recom- 
pute its needs on the basis of minimum 
needs rather than optimum supply con- 
ditions. 67 

The theater in the meantime had 
passed the War Department's 6 Novem- 
ber forecasts on to the army groups, 

60 Cbl E-62083, ETO to WD, 10 Nov 44, Cbls, 
SS&P Planning Div 201.02, A46-37L 

OT Cbl E-63957, ETO to WD, 15 Nov 44, and Cbl 
WARX-64914, WD to ETO, 18 Nov 44, Cbls, 
SS&P Planning Div 201.02, A46-371; Ltr, Somervell 
to Lee, 18 Nov 44, Hq ASF European Theater— 1st 
Half 1944. 



where they were received with under- 
standable dismay. 68 The resupply poten- 
tial announced by the War Department 
had reduced the day of supply rate by 
an average of 50 percent in calibers of 
155-mm. and larger, and in the case of 
105-mm. howitzer ammunition to 18 
rounds per gun as compared with the 
ETOUSA rate of 40 and the MTOUSA 
rate of 50. 69 

The 6th Army Group, because it re- 
ceived its support through the Mediter- 
ranean theater and enjoyed a slightly 
higher day of supply rate in most items 
than units in the north, estimated that 
the new rates would provide only about 
one third of its actual needs and would 
therefore inevitably affect the scale of 
operations. The reduction was all the 
more serious, it noted, because air sup- 
port was habitually voided by adverse 
weather. 70 

General Bradley, translating the pre- 
dicted resupply rates into tactical capa- 
bilities, estimated that the ammunition 
on hand and in sight for the next month 
would permit the 121th Army Group to 
continue its current offensive until about 
15 December. Reserves would be practi- 
cally exhausted by that date, and the re- 
supply rate for the two critical calibers— 
105-mm. and 155-mm. howitzer ammuni- 
tion—would then force his armies to re- 
vert to static operations. It would be in- 
sufficient even for such operations, he 
thought, if his forces faced an enemy 
capable of offensive action. Crossing the 
Rhine with such supply was out of the 
question unless enemy resistance col- 

08 Cbl S-66466, SHAEF to 12 and 6 A Gp, 12 Nov 
44, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition. 
89 Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 31-32. 
70 Sixth Army Group History, November, p; 45. 

lapsed. 71 On %% November General 
Eisenhower transmitted this estimate 
word for word to the Army Chief of 
Staff. 72 

The Supreme Commander, recogniz- 
ing that the ammunition problem had 
now reached a crucial stage, had already 
decided to send two high-ranking officers 
to Washington to place before General 
Marshall the exact supply situation and 
indicate the effect of the shortages on 
projected operations. In preparation for 
that mission he instructed General Clay, 
who had only recently arrived in the 
theater and was then commanding Nor- 
mandy Base Section, to make a thorough 
study of the theater's assets and esti- 
mated expenditures, and asked Maj. Gen. 
Harold R. Bull to analyze the tactical 
implications of the supply outlook. 73 The 
two officers immediately proceeded to 
the 6th and 12 th Army Group headquar- 
ters to lay before them information avail- 

71 Memo, Bradley for Eisenhower, 21 Nov 44, 12 
A Gp 471 Ammunition. A COMZ analysis estimated 
that the War Department's announced resupply 
potential would permit the following expenditures 
of 105-mm. howitzer ammunition through April 
1945: 26.8 rounds per weapon per day if no re- 
serves were maintained, 25 rounds with a five-day 
reserve, and 23.3 rounds with a ten-day reserve. 
This assumed an average of 2,341 weapons of this 
caliber for the period. The 12th Army Group's 
desired rate for the 105-mm. howitzer was 52.2 
rounds. For the 155-mm. gun the corresponding 
figures were 19.1 rounds without a reserve, 18.3 
rounds with a five-day reserve, and 17.5 rounds with 
a ten-day reserve. The total number oE weapons 
of this caliber was assumed to average 345. The 
desired rate for the 155-mm. gun was 23.25. Ltr, 
Lord to Crawford, 17 Nov 44, sub: Ammo Avail- 
abilities through 1 May 1945, EUCOM 471 Am- 
munition Availabilities III, Special Files. 

"Cbl S-67807, Eisenhower to Marshall, 22 Nov 
44, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition. 

"TWX EX-65520, ETO to 6 and 12 A Gps, 20 
Nov 44, 6 A Gp 471-1 November 44. 



Table 6 — 12th Army Group Artillery Ammunition Expenditures, 
6 June-22 October 1944, Compared With 
Day of Supply Rates 



nds Fired by 12th A Gp 

Day of Supply Rate 
(rounds per gun per day) 


Per day per 
gun in action 

Per day per 
gun in A Gp 

12 AGp 

ETO Day of 
Supply rate 

10S-mm. howitzer 

3 , 012 ,568 





4.5-in. gun_. _ 






ISS-mm. howitzer 






155-mm. gun SP _ . _ 






ISS-mm. gun Ml _ 






8-in. howitzer _____ _ 






8-in. gun__ 






240-mm. howitzer. _ _ 






Source: Memo, Hinds for Moses, 19 Nov 44, Memos— Moses, SHAEF 12 A Gp G^, Folder 86. 

able to the theater and to obtain data 
on supply in the combat zone. 

The reaction was a familiar one. Pre- 
senting detailed statistics and charts, the 
6th Army Group showed how miserly it 
had had to be in its expenditures for 
weeks in order to build up the three 
units of fire necessary for the November 
offensive, and how, after firing these 
stocks in the initial attacks, it had again 
had to tailor its operation to the small 
trickle of supply. Continued resupply 
at the same rates, it maintained, would 
permit nothing better than an active 
defense. 74 

General Moses had gathered together 
the 12 th Army Group expenditures rec- 
ord in the main types of artillery ammu- 
nition for the entire period from 6 June 
to 22 October to show that in no case 
had expenditures been possible at the 

n Memo, 6 A Gp for Bull and Clay, 23 Nov 44, 
sub: Ammo Consumption Rqmt Analysis, EUCOM, 
SHAEF Plans and Operations, 23 Nov 44-26 Jan 
45; 6 A Gp G-3 Sec Final Rpt, p. 95. 

theater day of supply rate and in most 
cases had been only one third to one 
half of the desired expenditure rates. 
(Table 6) General Bradley still hoped 
to be provided with sufficient ammuni- 
tion to permit firing at the ' 'desired 
rates" during the current offensive, or 
until mid-December. But the desired 
rates, on which the 12 th Army Group 
had based requirements in the past, were 
obviously unattainable for long-range 
supply and actually had little relation- 
ship to the average expenditures over 
a long period. Considering the number 
of inactive divisions and the periods of 
regrouping and light fighting, General 
Bradley estimated that a long-term main- 
tenance rate, if maintained for several 
months, would permit the accumulation 
of ammunition in sufficient quantities 
to cover the heavy requirements during 
periods of offensive operations. He im- 
mediately queried the armies on this 
proposal and then recommended the fol- 
lowing long-range maintenance rates in 



place of the old desired expenditure rates 
for the four most critical items: 

105-mm. howitzer 40 rounds/gun/day 

155-mm. howitzer 40 

155-mm. gun 23.5 

8-inch howitzer 25 

In every case the rates recommended 
by the 12 th Army Group commander 
still exceeded the resupply potential an- 
nounced by the War Department. More- 
over, the army group also wanted four- 
teen days' reserves established in ADSEC 
depots. Considering the need for a the- 
ater reserve and working margins in the 
Communications Zone, General Moses 
concluded that the outlook was "pretty 
sad/' The history of ammunition supply 
thus far indicated to him that the theater 
had been permitted to embark on Opera- 
tion Overlord without any certainty of 
receiving sufficient ammunition to carry 
on operations against continued stiff re- 
sistance. He suspected, furthermore, that 
the War Department, despite the the- 
ater's repeated protestations, had fallen 
into the habit of editing the theater's 
requisitions on the basis of past expendi- 
tures. These, he maintained, had no bear- 
ing whatever on the problem of future 
supply, and he strongly opposed having 
General Clay use such data in his dis- 
cussion with the War Department or 
having him attempt any estimate as to 
what the armies could or could not do 
with the ammunition made available at 
the new rates. In Moses' opinion Gen- 
erals Clay and Bull should do no more 
than present the theater's stated require- 
ments and assert that failure to meet 
them would seriously hamper or halt 
offensive operations. 75 

"Memo for Record, Moses, 21 Nov 44, sub: 
Ammo Rates, Memo, Moses for Bull, 21 Nov 44, 

Generals Bull and Clay flew to Wash- 
ington at the end of November, and 
within a few days General Bull reported 
generally satisfactory results for the mis- 
sion. The theaters immediate crisis was 
to be resolved by three expedients: some 
ammunition found by the ASF which 
could be rapidly reconditioned was to 
be shipped promptly; by various short- 
cuts and special handling the delivery 
time for all ammunition was to be re- 
duced; and an all-out effort was to be 
made to assemble all components on 
hand and thus increase the total produc- 
tion output for December and January. 
These measures promised to improve the 
supply potential in all calibers, and par- 
ticularly in 105-mm. howitzer ammuni- 
tion, in which the increase was expected 
to sustain the desired maintenance rate 
through April 1945. In addition, the 
War Department was to make an effort 
to bring new capacity then under con- 
struction into production at an earlier 
date than then scheduled. General Bull 
reported excellent co-operation from the 
staffs of General Somervell and the Chief 
of Ordnance, and returned to the theater 
satisfied that the War Department was 
making every effort within its power to 
meet ETOUSA's needs. 76 

The War Department's steps to boost 
the production of field artillery ammuni- 
tion actually antedated the theater's most 
recent appeal by several months. In the 

Memo, Moses for Bradley, 22 Nov 44, and Memo 
for Record, Moses, 26 Nov 44, sub: Visit of Bull 
and Clay, all in Memos— Moses, SHAEF 12 A Gp 
G-4 Folder 86; Ltr, Moses to Bull, 26 Nov 44, 
OPD 471 ETO Sec. I, Cases 1-16. 

"General Clay did not return to the theater. 
Cbl W-viigg, Bull to Smith, 1 Dec 44, SHAEF 
G-4 471 Ammunition; Memo, Bull for Eisenhower, 
3 Dec 44, sub: Critical Ammo Items, Gen Bd file 
471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artillery. 



fall of 1943 the War Department had 
ordered a cutback in production under 
the pressure of criticism from a Congres- 
sional committee because of excess ac- 
cumulations of stocks, particularly in 
the North African theater. The excess in 
North Africa had resulted from the auto- 
matic shipment of ammunition on the 
basis of empirical day of supply data 
which failed to reflect the relatively in- 
active status of weapons over long pe- 
riods of time. Early in 1944 the demands 
for ammunition rose precipitately as the 
result of the increased tempo of fighting 
on all fronts, and particularly as the re- 
sult of unexpectedly high expenditures 
in Italy and ETOUSA's upward revisions 
of its requirements for the coming in- 
vasion. These developments led the Plan- 
ning Division of the ASF, after a thor- 
ough survey of the ammunition situa- 
tion, to predict a critical shortage in 
mortar and medium and heavy artillery 
ammunition by November. 

On this forecast the War Department 
in April began allocating ammunition 
on the basis of the number of active 
weapons in each theater. Within another 
month, after additional studies and rec- 
ommendations from the various ASF di- 
visions, the War Department General 
Staff assigned the highest priority to the 
construction of additional production fa- 
cilities for ammunition, and also for 
2runs. The War Production Board im- 


mediately issued the required directives 
to make basic materials and machine 
tools available. Tooling up for ammuni- 
tion production was a complicated pre- 
cision job, however, the manufacture of 
the 155-mm. shell alone requiring about 
forty separate operations. Even experi- 
enced manufacturers ran into trouble on 

such jobs, as the lag in production of 
8-inch ammunition had shown. Mean- 
while the War Department pressed for 
the maximum output with existing fa- 
cilities, making the necessary manpower 
deferments and even furloughing men 
from the service to work in munitions 
plants. 77 

These measures were only beginning 
to be reflected in production increases 
when the theater made its urgent ap- 
peals in November, and the actions which 
the War Department could take to effect 
an immediate acceleration in the flow 
of ammunition were limited to the ex- 
pedients mentioned above. Earlier in 
November, in an attempt to provide ad- 
ditional incentives to production in exist- 
ing facilities, and to publicize the ur- 
gency of the ammunition situation, the 
Secretary of War had suggested that the 
theater send back artillery crews as spe- 
cial emissaries for a tour of production 
centers. Late that month, during the Bull 
mission, the theater responded by flying 
one mortar crew and two artillery gun 
crews, comprising twenty-seven enlisted 
men, to the United States. 78 

(4) Ammunition Supply in December 
and January 

The emergency measures taken as a 
result of the Bull mission were to have 

71 History of Planning Division ASF, App. i8-A, 
Ammunition Supply for the European and Medi- 
terranean Theaters, prep by ASF, 15 Aug 45, pp. 
25, 32, 242-45; Cbl 302158Z, AGWAR to SHAEF, 
30 Nov 44, EUCOM 471 Ammunition, General, 
III; Rpt, Hiland G. Batcheller, Critical Programs: 
A Report to the WPB, 14 Nov 44, Hq ASF, Presi- 
dent-White House-Exec Office 1944, Somervell file. 

78 Cbl WX-58187, AGWAR to SHAEF, 6 Nov 44, 
and Cbl EX-62078, COMZ to AGWAR, 24 Nov 44, 
both in SHAEF AG 471-5 Summary of Ammuni- 
tion Position. 



no effect on ammunition availability in 
Europe for several weeks. Meanwhile the 
armies met the enemy's December on- 
slaught with stocks already on hand and 
did some of the heaviest firing to date. 
Credits went out the window in the face 
of emergency needs of hard-pressed units, 
and allocations to the subordinate corps 
and divisions were suspended. Instead, 
Third Army, for example, adopted the 
practice of issuing informal status re- 
ports of critical items which corps com- 
manders then used as a guide to expendi- 
tures. For the most part firing was unre- 
stricted. In the First Army, expenditures 
of 105-mm. howitzer ammunition rose 
to 69 rounds per gun per day as com- 
pared with 13 rounds in the period of 
the pursuit and a previous high of 44 
in November. For the 155-mm. howitzer 
expenditures were at the rate of 44 
rounds as against 8 and 29 respectively 
in the earlier periods. 

In the most of the major categories 
the firing in December was the heaviest 
of any month thus far. The result was 
to increase the gap between authorized 
and actual levels in the theater to the 
widest it was to reach during the war. In 
the case of the high explosive shell for 
the 105-mm. howitzer Ms, the Decem- 
ber expenditures, totaling 2,579,400 
rounds, reduced theater stocks to 2,524,- 
000 rounds against an authorized level of 
8,900,000. In terms of days of supply at 
War Department rates this stockage rep- 
resented only twenty-one days as against 
the authorized seventy-five. 79 

79 In weight of rounds expended, the high ex- 
plosive shell for the basic field artillery piece— the 
105-mm. howitzer Ma— topped all other ammuni- 
tion items. Expenditures of this shell eventually 
accounted for 34.5 percent of the total tonnage of 

In the 6th Army Group expenditures 
did not soar until early in January, 
when the enemy launched his counter- 
offensive in the Hardt Mountains area. 
Firing continued heavy with the launch- 
ing of the operation to clear the Colmar 
Pocket. The sustained firing during the 
month placed a heavy drain on army 
group reserves. At the end of the opera- 
tion on 8 February 6th Army Group 
concluded that it would have to con- 
serve ammunition in the heavier calibers 
for a full thirty days before undertaking 
additional offensive operations. Alloca- 
tions were accordingly cut to one half 
of the SHAEF day of supply rate for the 
next month. Unallocated ammunition 
was used to rebuild the army group re- 
serve. 80 

The heavy firing in December and 
January was thus supported only by 
drawing heavily on reserves. The flow 
of ammunition was anything but plenti- 
ful, and the theater continued to resort 
to various expedients to supplement nor- 
mal supply and augment the armies* fire 
power. Late in November the First 
Army, using personnel from the 33d 
Field Artillery Brigade, formed two pro- 
visional battalions in order to make use 
of forty-eight German 105-mm. gun- 
howitzers and 20,000 rounds of captured 

artillery ammunition expended by U.S. forces dur- 
ing the war in Europe (498,200 tons of a total of 
1,446,400). Shells for the 105-mm. howitzer Mi ac- 
counted for another 14.7 percent (213,300 tons) of 
the total tonnage. History of Planning Division 
ASF, App. 18-A, p. 93. 

80 TUSA AAR, II, Ord, 8; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 
Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. Ill, p. 26; Ammunition 
Supply Report Western Europe, 1-31 December, 
prep by Ammo Off, Ord Sec FUSA, 24 Jan 45, Gen 
Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artil- 
lery; 6 A Gp G-3 Sec Final Rpt; TWX BX-23700, 
Devers to SHAEF G-3, 30 Jan 45, SHAEF SGS 472 
Artillery and Ammunition, II. 



ammunition turned over to it by the 
Communications Zone. The captured 
guns and ammunition were used to good 
effect in harassing and interdictory mis- 
sions during the Ardennes fighting. First 
Army's 155-mm. gun battalions also made 
use of approximately 7,500 rounds of 
captured 15.5-cm. ammunition. 81 Mean- 
while the Communications Zone ar- 
ranged with 21 Army Group for the 
loan of one hundred 25-pounders along 
with sixty days' supply of ammunition 
to the 12th Army Group, which divided 
them between the three armies. 82 

While the additional shipments ar- 
ranged for by General Bull helped shore 
up the theater's ammunition position, 
they were insufficient to permit firing at 
the 12th Army Group's desired long- 
range maintenance rates. In December 
the theater informed the field commands 
that the supply potential for 105-mm. 
howitzer ammunition would be 26 
rounds per gun per day as compared 
with the desired 45, for the 155-mm. 
howitzer 19.5 as against the desired 33, 
for the 155-mm. gun 13 instead of 25, 
and for the 8-inch howitzer 5.5 rather 
than 25. 83 In practice the theater actually 
bettered this forecast somewhat in the 
three months beginning with January, 
the maintenance rates for the four criti- 

81 FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. 
Ill, p. 28. 

82 The loan was renewed for another sixty days 
at the end of February. Cbl EX-85I76, COMZ to 
21 A Gp, 11 Jan 45, Cbl SD-1159, 21 A Gp to 
COMZ, 4 Mar 45, Memo, Arty Sec 12 A Gp for 
G-4, 4 Jan 45, and Memo, Arty Sec to Ord and 
G-4, 26 Feb 45, all in 12 A Gp 472 Cannons and 
Field Pieces. 

83 Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 35-36; Ltr, Gen Leven C. 
Allen to CG ETO, 16 Dec 44, sub: Long-Range 
Maintenance Rate of Supply of Mortar and Arty 
Ammo, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition, V. 

cal calibers averaging 29.6, 23.4, 13.3, 
and 5.5 respectively. 84 

But the supply potential continued to 
fall short of desired maintenance rates, 
and the entire ammunition situation re- 
mained tight. Early in January General 
Somervell, after a personal survey of the 
situation in the theater, appeared fully 
convinced of the theater's needs and 
asserted in no uncertain terms that the 
resources of the United States must be 
applied to whatever extent was necessary 
to the urgent production of as much am- 
munition of critical calibers as could be 
produced in the shortest possible time. 
"There are not enough 'AY in all the 
alphabets in the United States," he 
cabled Washington, "to point up the 
necessity for this too strongly.'* 85 The 
critical need for ammunition in the Eu- 
ropean theater had a direct influence on 
the War Department's decision, made 
only a few days later, to cancel plans for 
the mass production of pilotless aircraft 
(the JB-2), intended for use against in- 
dustrial targets in Germany, because of 
the inroads such a program would have 
made on labor and materials then com- 
mitted to the manufacture of field artil- 
lery ammunition. 80 

The adoption of the long-range main- 
tenance rate as a means of forecasting 

84 For the 8-inch howitzer the figure 5.5 is de- 
ceptively low, for the rate is based on a large num- 
ber of weapons which were never active. Expendi- 
tures by the 12th Army Group in this caliber ac- 
tually averaged 13 rounds per active gun per day. 
Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 37-38. 

83 Memo, Marshall for Byrnes, 13 Jan 45, and 
attchd Cbl, Somervell to Styer, 11 Jan 45, CofS 
400, Sec. I, Cases 2-35. 

86 Memo for Record, Lt Col C. E. Hutchin, 24 
Dec 44, Cbl 82397, Marshall to ETO, 24 Dec 44, 
and Cbl 25880, Marshall to Eisenhower, 23 Jan 45, 
all in OPD 471.6 TS Sec II, Cases 33-37. 



future supply was accompanied by fur- 
ther changes in the control of ammuni- 
tion distribution within the theater. 
After discussions earlier in the month, 
SHAEF on 2,0 December announced that 
it was assuming control of all ammuni- 
tion resources in the theater, and pro- 
posed to exercise its control by estab- 
lishing a maintenance day of supply rate 
and a reserve for each weapon. The re- 
serve, it was proposed, would be held by 
the theater and would be made available 
to SHAEF to meet unforeseen contingen- 
cies or to reinforce the operations of a 
specified army group. The maintenance 
day of supply was in reality the available 
day of supply potential for each weapon 
and was calculated by considering as 
available all stocks then in the Communi- 
cations Zone and SOLOC and the antici- 
pated future supply from the zone of in- 
terior. SHAEF at first attempted to es- 
tablish its control retroactively to 1 De- 
cember. This placed the 6th Army Group 
in the position of having already over- 
drawn its allocations for the month, and 
much of its ammunition had already 
been fired. General Devers protested 
that the control had been imposed too 
abruptly and had caused dislocations, 
and asked for special allocations. SHAEF 
therefore postponed inauguration of its 
control to January. The SHAEF reserve 
was actually established by the middle 
of that month. 

The new system established a main- 
tenance day of supply for each weapon 
in the theater, thereafter known as the 
SHAEF Maintenance Rate. In effect, the 
inauguration of the system recaptured 
all ammunition in Army supply points 
and redistributed all ammunition on a 
weapons basis. While the newly estab- 

lished maintenance rates were not as high 
as desired, they were actually somewhat 
better than the resupply predictions of 
the War Department because of the 
spreading out of existing stocks in the 
theater. Furthermore, the system pro- 
vided a guaranteed rate of resupply to 
the army groups and thus provided a 
sound basis for expenditure planning. 87 
Meanwhile the 12th Army Group had 
decided to establish a reserve of its own. 
It will be recalled that under the credit 
system adopted in November it had been 
agreed that the armies should create their 
own reserves on the basis of the thirty- 
day forecasts issued every ten days, and 
that no ammunition should be held back 
by the army group. Early in December 
General Moses proposed that the army 
group assume responsibility for "assess- 
ing the hazards" of ammunition supply 
behind the armies and thus leave the 
army commanders freer to consider 
purely operational problems. Under 
Moses' proposal the army group, after 
reviewing the expected rates of supply 
announced by the War Department, 
would establish a minimum reserve of its 
own of seven days in ADSEC depots, 
and credit the armies with all other avail- 
able ammunition up to the total of the 
expected supply rate in accordance with 
operational activity factors. When avail- 
able, additional ammunition would be 
credited to the armies to enable them to 
establish a seven-day reserve of their 
own. Under this procedure the armies 

87 Memo, Twitchell for Bull, 7 Dec 44, sub: Avail- 
ability of Ammo, Memo, Bull for Crawford, 7 Dec 
44, Memo, Twitchell for Bull, 20 Dec 44, sub: Conf 
on Availability of Ammo, and TWX S-75735, 
SHAEF to A Gps, 19 Jan 45, all in SHAEF G-3 
O&E 471 Ammunition; 6 A Gp G-3 Sec Final Rpt, 
PP- 97-99- 



would be told that they could expect to 
learn about ten days in advance the 
amounts to be credited to them; the prac- 
tice of advising them of credit expec- 
tancy for a thirty-day period was to stop. 
Moses believed that this system would 
afford greater safety and flexibility to 
the army group commander in the use 
of critical items in planned operations, 
and would also relieve the armies of 
worry about supply in the rear of the 
forward depots. It would also eliminate 
the troubles arising from predictions of 
future supply which often could not be 
fulfilled. 88 

General Bradley approved the system 
outlined by his G-4. On 16 December the 
army group submitted to theater head- 
quarters its desired long-range mainte- 
nance rates, which henceforth took the 
place of the old desired expenditure rate 
in calculating requirements. 89 

The army group reserve was not actu- 
ally established until mid-January. 90 At 
that time the ammunition control sys- 
tem worked roughly as follows: On the 
basis of resupply forecasts furnished by 
the War Department and weapons lists 
provided by the Communications Zone, 
SHAEF computed the current mainte- 
nance rates. The quantities actually to 
be made available to each army were 
determined by the number of each type 
of weapon with the armies and by the 
activity factors established by the army 
group. The Communications Zone wrote 
credits on ADSEC depots for each army, 

88 Memo, Moses for Bradley, 11 Dec 44, sub: 
Notes on Ammo Supply, Memos— Moses, SHAEF 12 
A Gp G-4 Folder 86. 

89 Memo for Record, Moses, 13 Dec 44, sub: Ammo 
Supply, Memos-Moses, SHAEF A Gp G-4 Folder 

90 Diary of 12th A Gp G-4, 12 Jan 45. 

and the armies then made withdrawals 
as needed against these credits. 91 

In January the supply of ammunition 
for the 4.2-inch chemical mortar was 
placed on an allocation and credit basis 
similar to that set up for artillery am- 
munition. Ammunition for this weapon 
had never been plentiful, but the short- 
age was seriously aggravated during the 
winter when large quantities in both the 
theater and the zone of interior were 
found to be defective and had to be 
impounded. The defect was found to 
be in the fuze, causing barrel explosions. 
Pending the receipt of reconditioned 
stocks from the United States, im- 
pounded shells in the theater were re- 
leased only when absolutely necessary, 
and for a time the weapon was fired 
only by use of the lanyard. 92 

One of the most troublesome prob- 
lems which plagued ammunition supply 
through the entire period of operations 
was the problem of the segregation of 
ammunition by lot number. Under a 
system of mass production in many 
plants there is no guarantee that all 
ammunition of a single type will have 
the same ballistic characteristics. Am- 
munition must therefore be segregated 
or grouped according to performance 
characteristics, particularly with regard 
to range. It is desirable of course, to 
keep the number of lots delivered to a 
single battalion as small as possible and, 
conversely, the number of rounds per lot 
as large as possible. 

Lot segregation was not a new prob- 

01 Gen Ed Rpt 100, p. 27. 

B2 Memo, for G-4, 23 Jan 45, SHAEF G-4 471 
Ammunition 1945; 12 A Gp G-4 AARs for Jan and 
Feb 45. 



lem, and attempts had been made to 
cope with it before the invasion. Tests 
carried out in the United Kingdom had 
shown that variations between lots and 
even within lots were too great for safety 
in the close support of infantry, and 
some nonstandard lots were therefore 
rejected. Some 800,000 rounds of 105- 
mm. howitzer ammunition, the type 
used in greatest quantity for close sup- 
port, were classified before the invasion. 
But this quantity was quite inadequate, 
and units eventually had to be provided 
classified, unclassified, and even previ- 
ously rejected ammunition. 93 On the 
Continent the extended discharge over 
beaches, the continued receipt of many 
small mixed lots from the United States, 
the lack of transportation needed for 
the rehandling of ammunition once it 
was on the ground, and the October 
speed-up in unloading, accompanied by 
the forwarding of ammunition in bulk, 
all militated against the maintenance of 
lot integrity. 

The 1st Army Group had originally 
set as a goal the delivery of ammunition 
in lots of at least 500 rounds to indi- 
vidual battalions. But this was rarely if 
ever achieved. In October Third Army 
found that one supply point with 7,445 
rounds of 105-mm. howitzer ammuni- 
tion contained 308 lot numbers; a tabu- 
lation of receipts in a single depot in 
a period of three days revealed that 545 
separate lots had been received. In an- 
other three-day period late in September 
one field artillery battalion reported 
drawing 131 lots of ammunition averag- 
ing only eighteen rounds each. 

Just before the November offensive 

Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 11-12, 76. 

First Army undertook to segregate and 
record by lot number all ammunition 
under its control, a task which involved 
an expenditure of 25,000 man-hours of 
labor. It attempted to segregate ammu- 
nition as far as possible into multiples 
of 150 rounds. But the stock of 105-mm. 
howitzer ammunition alone contained 
more than 1,200 lot numbers. Ordnance 
officials finally concluded that the me- 
dium battalions would simply have to 
accept a proportion of unsegregated am- 
munition with each issue of segregated 
shells. 94 

This highly unsatisfactory situation 
naturally brought complaints from the 
field. Artillery commanders reported 
that it was impossible to determine the 
behavior of ammunition by registration. 
The resulting inaccuracy of firing con- 
sequently necessitated the adoption of 
a safety factor certain to prevent short 
rounds from falling on friendly troops. 
But such measures also voided the bene- 
fits of close supporting fires. 

In one respect the problem of ammu- 
nition handling resembled the problem 
of handling bulk rations. Care had to be 
exercised at every stage along the lines 
of communications to maintain the in- 
tegrity of original loads or blocks of 
supply. As in the case of balanced 
rations, the Communications Zone had 
first tried to eliminate a major cause of 
trouble at the loading end where ammu- 
nition was often stowed without refer- 
ence to lots. This fault was largely 
eliminated by the fall of 1944, and ships 
arriving in the theater carried sizable 
quantities of individual lots, which were 
block stowed. In November, with the 

04 Ibid., p. 76; Gen Bd Rpt 100, p. 22; FUSA Rpt 
of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. Ill, p. 27. 



improvement of port discharge and 
transportation, some improvement was 
also evident in the handling of this am- 
munition within the theater. By the end 
of that month ammunition was arriving 
at three major ports— Cherbourg, Mor- 
laix, and Le Havre. Ammunition de- 
tachments were stationed at each of these 
ports to prevent the breaking up of lots 
during unloading, and further attempts 
were then made to ensure the shipment 
of solid blocks— an entire shipload where 
feasible— to a single depot. At the for- 
ward depots the Advance Section in turn 
attempted to reconsign rail cars con- 
taining solid loads of one lot forward 
to the armies. The Advance Section re- 
ported savings of between forty and sixty 
trucks per day at each of two depots in 
December by following this practice. 95 
This campaign gradually brought im- 
provement. But complete lot integrity 
was never achieved, and the problem 
plagued ammunition supply operations 
until V-E Day. 

Lot segregation was but one aspect 
of an essentially complicated supply 

85 Ltr, Brig Gen R. M. Howell, 9th Arty Comdr, 
to CG 9th Div, 24 Oct 44, sub: Variation in Lot 
Numbers of Arty Ammo, with Inds, Incl COMZ 
reply, 26 Dec 44, EUCOM 471 Ammunition Gen- 
eral, III; Ltr, COMZ to CGs COMZ Sees, 15 Nov 
44, sub: Ammo Shipping Practices, and Ltr, ADSEC 
to CG COMZ, 19 Dec 44, sub: Ammo Arrival Con- 
dition Rpt, both in ADSEC 471 Ammunition; Ltr, 
Hodges to Bradley, 10 Dec 44, sub: Segregation of 
Fid Arty Ammo by Lot Number, with 1st Ind, 12 
A Gp to COMZ, 20 Dec 44, 12 A Gp 471 Ammuni- 

problem. Estimating ammunition re- 
quirements suffered from the handicap 
of most military logistics in that require- 
ments fluctuated with the course of tac- 
tical operations, which were largely un- 
predictable. Neither the field commands 
nor the Communications Zone foresaw 
the developments of August and Septem- 
ber 1944, which had the effect first of 
reducing expenditures and then of creat- 
ing a precipitate rise in requirements 
for the attack on the West Wall defenses. 

But the problem actually went deeper. 
Unlike the problem of estimating the 
need for POL and most equipment, in 
the case of Class V there was much' dis- 
agreement as to what constituted an 
adequate day of supply or average rate 
of fire. Field commanders could always 
justify a much higher expenditure rate 
than the War Department, faced with 
multiple production problems, was 
either willing or able to support. In 
brief, there rarely, if ever, is enough 
ammunition to satisfy what field com- 
manders consider their legitimate needs. 

Unfortunately the problem was need- 
lessly aggravated by the lack of mutually 
understood ground rules regarding ac- 
countability of stocks in the pipeline 
and in the theater. In any event, the 
persistent uncertainty over supply pros- 
pects had its inevitable effect on opera- 
tional planning, hobbling all action in 
October, and casting a shadow over most 
planning for several months. 


The Troop Build-up, 
August 1944-March 1945 

(i) The Flow of Divisions 

Logistic difficulties in the fall of 1944 
logically should have had an adverse 
effect on the scheduled build-up of U.S. 
forces in the European theater, at least 
on the Continent. On the contrary, the 
flow of American units was actually ac- 
celerated in the face of the bad port 
and transportation situation in the fall 
of 1944, and the build-up of the original 
troop basis was completed substantially 
ahead of schedule. In the end, a much 
larger number of troops went to the 
European theater than had been 

Theater officials had considered the 
possibility of an acceleration in the 
build-up as early as June. At that date, 
however, there was little in the way of 
experiential data to indicate the advisa- 
bility of such a course. A decision still 
had not been reached at the time of the 
breakout at the end of July, although 
General Eisenhower by that time had 
asked the War Department to add one 
division to the scheduled September 
shipments in order to maintain the level 
in the United Kingdom at four. 

At the end of July there were 22 di- 
visions in the theater, 18 of which were 

on the Continent, and plans at the time 
called for the shipment of about 4 
divisions each month from the United 
States to complete the build-up of 47 
by the end of January 1945. 1 By the first 
week of September (D plus 90) there 
were 26 divisions in the theater (ex- 
clusive of the 3 in southern France), 
20 of which were then on the Continent 
as compared with the scheduled 21. 

Meanwhile, early in August, when the 
tactical situation suddenly took an unex- 
pected turn, the War Department made 
the first of several proposals to speed the 
flow of divisions from the United States. 
Anticipating the early capture of the 
Brittany and Loire ports and the likeli- 
hood that ETOUSA might want to ex- 
pedite the flow of troops from the 
United States directly to the Continent, 
it offered to advance the shipment of 
two infantry divisions (the 26th and 
104th) by about two weeks, from early 
September to late August, if ETOUSA 
could make an immediate decision. 

General Eisenhower, who was anxious 

1 Memo, Col C. F. Thompson for Chief Current 
Opns Br, 26 Jul 44, sub: Availability of U.S. Divs 
for ETO, Interim Rpt 1, SHAEF G-4 320.3 
Strength 44, 1; See also Logistical Support I, 128-29, 



to exploit the favorable situation then 
developing in France, promptly accepted 
the offer. He recognized that there 
might be administrative difficulties, for 
there were doubts about the capacity 
of both the British ports and continental 
beaches and ports to handle additional 
divisions before the end of September, 
but it was agreed that the difficulties 
could be overcome somehow. 2 

The advancement of two divisions by 
two weeks hardly constituted a radical 
alteration in plans. But the War Depart- 
ment quickly followed up with a pro- 
posal much more far-reaching in its im- 
plications. On 11 August, two days after 
the theater had agreed to the first speed- 
up, the War Department proposed to 
ship in September not only the three 
divisions which remained on the sched- 
ule for that month, but all five divisions 
on the October schedule as well, thus 
advancing the entire build-up by a 
month and five divisions. In offering the 
speed-up it indicated that in most cases 
the only limiting factor was the time 
needed to pack equipment and move it 
to the ports for loading. 3 

General Eisenhower was elated with 
the prospects for a speedier build-up of 
additional combat strength. But supply 
officials received the offer with strong 
misgivings, claiming that it threatened 
serious complications in the cargo ship- 
ping situation. The Communications 

2 Cbl WAR-77333, Marshall to Eisenhower, 8 
Aug 44, Cbl S-67204, Eisenhower to Marshall, 9 
Aug 44, both in OPD 370.5 Sec. XIII, Cases 448-86; 
Cbl S-57189, Eisenhower to Marshall, 9 Aug 44, 
Eyes Only Cbls, Smith Papers; Ltr, Bull to Smith, 
9 Aug 44, sub: U.S. Build-up, SHAEF G-4 320.2 
Strength 44, L 

3 Cbl 79344, Marshall to Eisenhower, 11 Aug 44, 
OPD 370.5 Sec. XIII, Cases 448-86. 

Zone earlier had announced a minimum 
requirement for 285 shiploads of cargo 
plus the equivalent of another 27 loads 
on tanker decks and in War Shipping 
Administration ships for September ar- 
rival. The War Department had already 
indicated in July that it could provide 
only 200 of that number because of the 
shortage of shipping. Protests from the 
theater were of no avail. In fact, early 
in August, coincident with the first ac- 
celeration in divisional movements, the 
War Department announced a further 
cut of 21 ships, reducing the allocation 
to 179 cargoes. Within a few days, to 
the astonishment of the theater, it pro- 
posed to cancel another 20, which would 
have reduced the September arrivals to 


The Communications Zone vigorously 
protested these proposals, arguing that 
the intended cancellations would result 
in withholding supplies and equipment 
of the highest operational priority from 
the theater. It now asked the War De- 
partment to restore as many ships as 
possible up to 250, which it regarded 
as an irreducible minimum. General 
Eisenhower supported this request, at 
least to the extent of restoring the two 
most recent cuts, totaling 41 ships. He 
was anxious to have the additional 
speed-up in the flow of divisions, how- 
ever, and indicated that the theater was 
prepared to accept the difficulties it 
would entail. 4 

Transportation officials in Washing- 
ton did not share ETOUSA's anxieties 
over cargo shipping, pointing out that 
current sailing schedules would more 

4 Cbl EX-43086, Lee to Lutes, 13 Aug 44, and 
Cbl S-57530, Eisenhower to Marshall, 13 Aug 44, 
Cbls, SS&P Planning Div 201.02, A46-371. 



than match the theater's most optimistic 
forecasts of its discharge capabilities. 
They assured the theater that they could 
easily step up sailings at any time if its 
discharge rate indicated that the port 
backlogs were being reduced. Neverthe- 
less, the War Department relented and 
met a large part of the theater s request, 
raising the September allocation to 220 
ships plus an equivalent of 35 loads on 
tanker decks. 5 

At this time— mid- August— the War 
Department also forecast the availability 
of divisions for later shipments— that is, 
beyond September— and asked the the- 
ater whether it wanted the gains ex- 
tended by advancing the sailing dates of 
divisions originally scheduled for later 
shipment. In fact, it actually offered a 
further acceleration in the flow, for it 
proposed to ship in October all 3 di- 
visions originally scheduled for Novem- 
ber and, in addition, 3 of those sched- 
uled for December. This would advance 
the build-up by almost two months and 
by a total of 6 divisions, and would 
bring the U.S. build-up in Europe to 42 
divisions sometime in November. Again 
the War Department asked for a prompt 
decision because of the need to start 
the reconditioning, packing, moving, 
and loading of equipment. 6 

As could be expected, the latest pro- 
posal aroused new fears among those 
responsible for the logistic support of 
U.S. forces. COMZ staff officers were par- 
ticularly apprehensive over the effect 

5 Cbl WAR-80524, TC Planning Div WD to Lee, 
14 Aug 44, Cbl WAR-81787, Gross to Somervell 
(in ETO), 16 Aug 44, and Cbl WAR-81853, Lutes 
to Lee, 16 Aug 44, all in Cbls, SS&P Planning Div 

201.02, A46— 371. 

8 Cbl W-82481, AGWAR to SHAEF, 17 Aug 44, 
SHAEF G_4 Troop Flow 121/1 GDP_i, Folder 64. 

which the speed-up would have on the 
theater's balance of service and combat 
troops, for the War Department had 
given no assurance that the divisions 
would be accompanied by adequate serv- 
ice troops. In fact, it had repeatedly 
told the theater that it could not in- 
crease the flow of engineer, medical, and 
signal units in line with the shipments 
of combat units. General Eyster, the 
ETOUSA G-3, estimated that the pro- 
posed shipments would lower the di- 
vision slice to about 38,000 men by the 
end of October and would cause a serious 
thinning out of logistic support. Colonel 
Whipple, the SHAEF logistic plans 
chief, supported this view, asserting that 
such a reduction would be acceptable 
only if the new divisions were to relieve 
combat-weary units, which would there- 
fore not have to be supported at full 
combat scales. General Stratton, the 
G-4, predicted in addition that critical 
shortages of supplies, notably in ord- 
nance and signal Class II items, and in 
ammunition, would develop. 7 

The speed-up also had serious impli- 
cations with regard to the continental 
ports. Receiving, staging, and equipping 
the sixteen divisions which would arrive 
in the nine weeks between 9 September 
and 12 November would impose a heavy 
administrative burden in the port areas, 
involving troops which were badly 
needed to support the forces already in 
the field. Shipments arriving directly 
from the United States would have to 
be accepted either at the beaches or at 

7 Ltr t Eyster to Theater Comdr, 19 Aug 44, sub: 
Increased Divisional Flow for Sep and Oct 44, and 
Memo, Whipple for SHAEF G-4, 19 Aug 44, sub: 
U.S. Troop Flow, SHAEF G-4 Troop Flow 121/1 
GPD-i, Folder 64. 



Cherbourg. But the Normandy beaches 
were expected to deteriorate rapidly in 
September. Cherbourg, with extremely 
limited capacity, was the only port thus 
far restored possessing facilities suitable 
for handling heavy cargo, and its use 
for troop units would involve the di- 
version of important cargo. 8 On this 
basis alone Colonel Whipple advised 
limiting the shipment of divisions to 
one per convoy in October instead of 
the two proposed. At this time U.S. 
forces were already crossing the Seine, 
and Whipple accurately foresaw that 
logistic difficulties would shortly become 
the major factor limiting operations. He 
recommended that the provision of ad- 
ditional service troops be given a higher 
priority than the movement of combat 
units, and, in anticipation of the inevita- 
ble delays in the development of rail 
transportation, that the introduction of 
motor transport be given greater em- 
phasis. 9 

Despite these warnings the theater de- 
cided to accept the War Department's 
proposed schedule of shipments, its re- 
ply of 20 August stating only that it 
"understood" that the flow of service 
troops would not be prejudiced. 10 

With the acceptance of the War De- 

8 Min, Mtg at SHAEF on Shipment of U.S. Div 
to the Continent, Napier presiding, 26 Aug 44, 
SHAEF G-4 337 Conference 1944, In addition, 
accepting large troopships there was considered 
hazardous. British officials agreed that operational 
needs justified the risk, however, and gave their 
approval. Memo, COS Brief of Action Rpt for 
Eisenhower, 2 Sep 44, sub: Acceptance of Large 
Troopships at Cherbourg, SHAEF SGS 800 Harbors, 
Opening, Use, Construction. 

9 Memo, Whipple for Crawford, 19 Aug 44, sub: 
U.S. Troop Flow, SHAEF G-4 Troop Flow 121/1 
GDP-i, Folder 64. 

10 Cbl S-58041, Eisenhower to Marshall, 20 Aug 
44, OPD 370.5 Sec. XIII, Cases 448-86. 

partment's plan of shipments through 
October only five divisions of the origi- 
nal forty-seven-division troop basis re- 
mained to be scheduled for shipment. 
By mid-August it was taken for granted, 
however, that the European theater 
would get the nine divisions in the un- 
deployed reserve which the War Depart- 
ment had tentatively earmarked for 
ETOUSA a month before. Fourteen di- 
visions therefore remained to be shipped 
to Europe after October, and the ques- 
tion now arose as to how these should 
be scheduled. 

Thus far the War Department had 
anticipated no difficulties in carrying out 
the speed-up, for all the divisions in- 
volved had been maneuver-trained at 
one time or another, and could be ade- 
quately outfitted by withholding equip- 
ment from units remaining in the 
United States. Thereafter, however, the 
pinch would begin to be felt in both 
training and equipment. Late in August 
the War Department informed the the- 
ater of the training status of each of the 
remaining divisions, and also listed the 
equipment shortages which would affect 
the combat readiness of units remaining 
to be shipped. It offered alternative ship- 
ping schedules, the more accelerated of 
the two involving some sacrifice in com- 
bined maneuver training, and left it to 
the theater to choose between the two. 
It offered to make some revisions in 
training and production schedules based 
on the theater's estimate of its needs. 11 

Theater officials hesitated to ask for 
the speedier build-up at the expense of 
combined maneuver training. But in 

11 Cbl WAR-86i26, Marshall to Eisenhower, 24 
Aug 44, and Memo, Handy for CofS, 24 Aug 44, 
OPD 370.5 Sec. XIII, Cases 448-86. 



the end it requested the best possible 
flow schedule, subject only to the con- 
dition that units be fully equipped. 12 On 
this basis the War Department offered 
revised build-up schedules indicating 
the readiness dates for divisions with 
varying levels of training. It revealed 
that the major equipment shortages 
were in combat ordnance items and 
would affect mainly the readiness of ar- 
mored divisions. 13 With this informa- 
tion the theater decided on a somewhat 
accelerated flow, which called for 1 di- 
vision in November, 5 in December, 
3 in January, 3 in February, and 1 in 
March. 14 This schedule made it possible 
for all divisions shipped after October 
to have the equivalent of one month's 
maneuver training at their home sta- 
tions. 15 

Apparently anticipating some of the 
internal difficulties which might attend 
the accelerated flow of divisions, the the- 
ater commander meanwhile considered 
the possibility of diverting two or three 
divisions from northern France and 
routing them through Marseille, where 
port capacity was expected to be more 
adequate. The War Department, when 
queried on 5 September as to the ship- 

12 Cbl FWD-13393, SHAEF to Marshall, 29- Aug 
44, SHAEF AG 370.5-6 General 1944. 
15 Cbl WAR-24823, 2 Sep 44, OPD Cbl Files. 

14 One of the 9 divisions in the undeployed re- 
serve, the 10th Light Mountain, was deleted from 
the ETOUSA troop basis at this time at the the- 
ater's request. This accounts for the scheduling of 
13 instead of 14 divisions. Another division was 
submitted later. 

15 Cbl FWD-14659, SHAEF to AGWAR, 12 Sep 
44, SHAEF AG 307.5-6 General 1944; Cbl 28646, 
Marshall to Eisenhower, 11 Sep 44, OPD 370,5 Sec. 
XIV, Cases 487-510; Cbl, Marshall to Eisenhower, 
13 Sep 44, and Note for Record, OPD, 1 Sep 44, 
sub: Divisional Flow and Theater Troop Basis, 
both in OPD 370.5 Sec. XIII, Cases 448-86. 

ping implications, replied on the fol- 
lowing day that the switch could be 
made, and presented alternate schemes 
for carrying out the suggestion. Much 
depended on whether the theater de- 
sired general-purpose vehicles to accom- 
pany the units, for the vehicles of the 
October divisions had already been re- 
leased for preshipment and were con- 
signed to northern ports. The War 
Department suggested that ETO USA 
arrange a loan of vehicles from the 
North African theater, which it could 
repay later. But General Devers pro- 
posed to solve the problem by providing 
vehicles from stocks already available 
in southern France and by borrowing 
from other units. 

Meanwhile the War Department had 
emphasized that it must have a decision 
within four days (10 September) in 
order to implement the plan. On 7 
September SHAEF cabled its acceptance 
of the plan to ship the nth Armored 
Division and the 99th and 103d Infantry 
Divisions through Marseille. Transmis- 
sion of the message was delayed an en- 
tire week, partially as the result of the 
disruption in communications occa- 
sioned by the movement of both COMZ 
and SHAEF headquarters to the Conti- 
nent at this time. On 13 September, 
having received no word from ETOUSA, 
Washington notified the theater that its 
proposal to divert the above-named di- 
visions was no longer possible. The War 
Department offered to divert four other 
divisions, however, if notification was 
received by the 21st. ETOUSA asked 
that three of the four divisions be 
shipped to Marseille as proposed, and 
the War Department accordingly made 
arrangements to divert the 1 4th Ar- 


Table 7— Overlord Divisional Build-up 
D plus 90 to D plus 210 


Total Theater 

Continental Build-up 



Original Plan 
(Plan X) 

Plan Y * 

Plan Z b 


D plus 90 (4 September 1944) 





c 20 

D plus 120 (4 October 1944) 



D plus 150 (3 November 1944) 

D plus 180 (3 December 1944) 


D plus 210 (2 January 1945) 

a Exclusive of rhe three divisions in Operation Dragoon. e Exclusive of the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions, which had 

* See Logistical Support I, 454-55. returned to the United Kingdom. 

mored and the 100th and 103d Infantry 
Divisions, scheduled for early October 
shipment, to southern France. 16 The 
three divisions arrived at Marseille be- 
tween 20 and 29 October. 

The stepped-up flow of divisions in 
the north soon brought its problems, as 
supply officials had predicted. Eight di- 
visions arrived in France in September. 
Three of them crossed over from the 
United Kingdom; 5 came directly from 
the United States, the first troop convoy 
arriving at Cherbourg on 7 September 

16 Cbl FWD-13887, SHAEF to WD, 5 Sep 44, 
Cbl WARX-26901, Handy to SHAEF, 6 Sep 44, 
Cbl WAR-29983, Handy to SHAEF, 13 Sep 44, Cbl 
FWD-14996, SHAEF to WD, 16 Sep 44, Cbl WAR— 
32604, WD to ETO, 18 Sep 44, Cbl FWD-15279, 
ETO to WD, 20 Sep 44, all in Cbls, SS&P Planning 
Div 201.02 United Kingdom, A47-6; TWX BX- 
16089; Severs to SHAEF, 10 Sep 44, SHAEF AG 
370.5-6 General 1944; Cbl 27747, Marshall to Eisen- 
hower and Devers, 9 Sep 44, Note for Record, 6 
Sep 44, sub: Diversion of Divs Through Marseille, 
Note for Record, 13 Sep 44, sub: Diversion of Div 
to Southern France, Cbl 32284, Marshall to Eisen- 
hower, 17 Sep 44, Cbl 34375, Marshall to Eisen- 
hower, 21 Sep 44, and Note for Record, 17 Sep 44, 
sub: Diversion of Div Through Marseille, all in 
OPD 370.5 Sec. XIV, Cases 487-510; Mil Shipments 
Priority Mtg, 9 Sep 44, SHAEF AG 337—18. 

with elements of the 26th and 104th 
Infantry Divisions. These arrivals raised 
the theater's strength to 33 divisions on 
D plus 120 (4 October), 4 divisions 
above the build-up originally planned, 
and brought the continental strength up 
to 30 for a gain of 5 over the build-up 
scheduled for that date. (Table 7) 

Increasing difficulties attended the in- 
troduction of this extra combat strength 
onto the Continent in the face of the 
acute transportation shortage and the 
failure to take Brest. The wisdom of the 
policy was soon questioned in view of 
the inability of the theater to support 
additional units in combat. Four of the 
divisions (the 104th, 44th, and io2d 
Infantry and the 10th Armored) did not 
see action for at least five weeks, and one 
(the 9th Armored) remained uncom- 
mitted as a unit until mid-December. 
Lack of equipment, some of which had 
to be discharged in the United King- 
dom, was a major contributing cause. 

Divisions continued to cross over to 
the Continent from England in the next 
months. Except for the three diversions 
to Marseille, however, not a single di- 



Table 8 — Divisional Build-up in the European Theater, 

i 942-1 945 


in Theater^ 

on Continent^ 

into Combat 

Days of 

29th Infantrv 

11 Ocroher 42 

f\ Tnnp 4-4- 

\J J U 1 1 C TT 

7 T 1 1 n p 4.4. 

/ J U11C tt 


^ t h Tn fa n t rv 

9 A ncriiQf 4-3 

9 Tnlv 44 

16 Tulv 44 

iu j uiy tt 


1 01 A irhnrne 

1 t Spntpmnpr 4-3 

f\ T 1 1 n p 4-4- 

\J J U11C TI 

f\ T 1 1 rt p 4.4- 
\J J unc tt 



1 s Spntpmnpr 43 

24 T 1 1 n p 4-4- 

i J U11C TI 

9 Tulv 44 
j j uiy tt 


28th Infantrv 

18 Octoher 43 

24 Tnlv 44 

27 Tulv 44 

it i j u i y tt 


9 d Tnfant r v 

19 Ocroher 43 

8 Tune 44 


8 Tune 44 

O J U 1 1 c 1 1 


1 <: t T n fa n t ru a 

s NnuptnKpr 4-i 


rt T 1 1 n p 4.4. 
\J J U 11 C tt 

f\ Tnnp 4.4. 
U J U 1 1 c tt 

i*y l 

9H Armnrprl & 

94- Nnvpmnpr 4-S 

J, 1 ! U VC111 L> CI TJ 

9 Tune 44 

J J u lie tt 

2 Tnlv 44 
*• j ui y « 


9th Tnfantrv^ 

27 Nnvpmhfr 43 

10 Tune 44 

14 Tnnp 4-4- 

AT J U11C tt 


82d Airhorne 

9 Tjprpmhpr 43 

n I imp 4-4- 

ft Tnnp 4-4- 
yj j unc tt 


8th Tnfantrv 

1 ^ Dprpmhpr 43 

A J A~y C\-C 111 1 i 

4 July 44 

8 Tulv 44 


4-th Armnrpfl 

8 Tannarv 44 

13 Tulv 44 

28 Tulv 44 


4-th Tnfa n trv 

28 Tannarv 44 
a* o j aiiuai y i i 

n Tnnp 4-4- 

A Tnnp 4-4 

J U 1 1 C TT 


3ftth Tnfantrv 

22 rphrnarv 44 

14- Tnnp 4-4- 

15 Tune 44 

A J J U 1 1 C TT 


^tn Armnrpfl 

23 rpnrnarv 4-4- 
■i"^ a cuiumy tt 

25 Tulv 44 

2 A 1 1 o\ i it 44 


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1 ^9 


12th Armored- 

2 October 44 

9 November 44 

7 December 44 


11th Armored - 

d October 44 

1*7 ^ ^ L A A 

1 / December 44 

15 December 44 


99th Infantry 

10 October 44 

6 November 44 

9 November 44 


75th Infantry - 

20 October 44 

13 December 44 

25 December 44 


103d Infantry e 

20 October 44 

20 October 44 

11 November 44 


100th Infantry e 

20 October 44 

20 October 44 

9 November 44 


78th Infantry 

25 October 44 

22 November 44 

13 December 44 


14th Armored 6 

29 October 44 

29 October 44 

20 November 44 


106th Infantry 

1 November 44 

26 November 44 

10 December 44 


87th Infantry 

13 November 44 

3 December 44 

13 December 44 


21 November 44 

6 January 45 

23 February 45 





in Theater-^ 

on Continent/ 

into Combat 

66th Infantry. 
69th Infantry. 
76th Infantry. 
63d Infantry e _. 
42d Infantry*.. 
70th Infantry 6 . 
65th Infantry d . 
89th Infantry*. 
13th Armored*. 
71st Infantry*. 
13th Airborne. 
16th Armored*. 
20th Armored. 
86th Infantry*. 
97th Infantry*. 

26 November 44 

13 December 44 
21 December 44 

14 January 45 
18 January 45 
18 January 45 

21 January 45 

22 January 45 
29 January 45 

6 February 45 
6 February 45 
11 February 45 
17 February 45 
3 March 45 
3 March 45 

26 December 44 
26 January 45 

17 January 45 
14 January 45 

18 January 45 
18 January 45 

21 January 45 

22 January 45 
29 January 45 

6 February 45 

10 February 45 

11 February 45 
21 February 45 

3 March 45 
5 March 45 

1 January 45 

11 February 45 
19 January 45 

6 February 45 
17 February 45 
3 February 45 
9 March 45 

12 March 45 
10 April 45 
12 March 45 

No combat 

5 May 45 
24 April 45 
29 March 45 

1 April 45 

First arrived in European Theater of Operations 7 August 1942 
and participated in North African and Sicilian operations. The 1st 
Armored and 34th Infantry Divisions also came to the European 
theater in 1942 and, like the 1st Division, went to North Africa in 
November of that year. Neither of them ever saw action in the 
European Theater of Operations, however, and they are excluded 
from this list. 

* Saw action earlier in North African theater. 

c Landed in southern France from North African theater as part 
of Dragoon invasion force. 

d Entered northern France directly from the United States. 

e Entered southern France directly from the United States. 

Infantry regiments of 63d, 42d, and 70th Divisions arrived early in 
December 1944 and saw action in advance of the divisions proper. 

/ All arrival dates — for both the theater and Continent— are the 
dates on which the main echelon of the division headquarters closed. 
The arrival of a division usually extended over several days and in 
some cases several weeks. There are minor discrepancies between the 
arrival dates given here and those given on page 457 of Logistical 
Support I for the months of June and July 1944 because different 
sources were used. 

Source: Order of Battle: Divisions, European Theater, prep by 
Hist Sec ETOUSA, 1945. 

vision was again accepted directly from 
the United States in contine ntal ports 
until January 1945. (Table 8)\ 

In October the War Department pro- 
posed a further modification in the 
build-up plan. Inspired in part by plans 
which the Combined Chiefs of Staff were 
considering for an all-out effort to end 
the war before the winter, and in part 
by the desire to relieve combat-weary 
infantrymen with fresh troops, General 
Marshall suggested an immediate speed- 
up in the shipment of the infantry regi- 
ments of divisions scheduled for later 
shipment. The idea was that the units 
be rotated with regiments of divisions 
already in the field. Under this plan 

the organic supporting and service troop 
units of the divisions would arrive later 
and eventually marry up with the in- 
fantry. Marshall proposed advancing the 
shipment of the regiments of all twelve 
of the infantry divisions remaining to 
be shipped. 

The theater immediately approved 
the scheme for the infantry elements of 
three divisions (the 87th, 75th, and 
106th), portions of which were already 
loading. But it was not enthusiastic 
about applying the idea to all the re- 
maining divisions. General Bradley, in 
particular, raised objections in the con- 
viction that it was bad practice to break 
up units, and that it would create both 



training and equipment problems for 
the rumps of the divisions in the United 
States. Moreover, he feared that advanc- 
ing the infantry elements of additional 
divisions would affect striking power at 
the very time when the logistic situation 
would support a general offensive. 17 

General Eisenhower forwarded the 
12th Army Group commander's views to 
the Army Chief of Staff, pointing out, 
in addition, the logistic troubles of the 
theater. ETOUSA was already incapable 
of supporting the divisions available to 
it, and would be unable to do so until 
Antwerp was opened; it had accepted 
the earlier accelerations, he said, only 
so that it could rotate units and thus 
relieve tired troops. Eisenhower there- 
fore advised against a speed-up of in- 
fantry regiments beyond the three al- 
ready under way. 18 

General Marshall believed it ex- 
tremely important to relieve combat- 
weary infantry with fresh units and 
asked the theater commander to recon- 
sider. At the same time he apparently 
wished to allay any fears about a delay 
in the shipment of the remaining por- 
tions of the divisions. He indicated that 
the three divisions whose regiments were 
being advanced could sail by mid-No- 
vember, and that the remaining ele- 
ments of the other nine divisions 
could follow their regiments by mid- 
December. 19 

17 Cbl WARX-46072, Somervell to NYPOE, 13 
Oct 44, Cbls, SS&P Planning Div 201.02, United 
Kingdom A46-371; Memo for Record, Bradley, 13 
Oct 44, SHAEF 12 A Gp G-4 Memos— Moses, Folder 
86; COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications Diary/ 
Jnl, 15 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C. 

18 Cbl S-63358, Eisenhower to Marshall, 21 Oct 
44, SHAEF G-4 381 Troop Unit Basis 1944, I. 

19 Cbl 50676, Marshall to Eisenhower, 22 Oct 44, 
OPD 370.5 Sec. XV, Case 511. 

This proposed schedule completely 
ignored the theater's logistic dilemma, 
whose seriousness the War Department 
obviously did not yet comprehend. In 
reply, the theater pointed out that it 
could not possibly accept the heavy ele- 
ments of the divisions at the proposed 
rates, either on the Continent or in the 
United Kingdom, for the equipment in- 
volved alone amounted to nearly 500,000 
tons of cargo. 20 As matters stood, nine 
regiments of three infantry divisions 
then in the United Kingdom were al- 
ready available as relief regiments for 
nine of the eighteen divisions in the 
12th Army Group. The nine regiments 
of the 87th, 75th, and 106th Divisions 
were due to arrive in the United King- 
dom at the beginning of November and 
would provide similar reinforcements 
for all the remaining divisions in the 
12th Army Group. 

General Eisenhower proposed, there- 
fore, that the regiments of only three of 
the remaining nine divisions earmarked 
for ETOUSA be shipped in advance of 
their divisions in November in order 
to ensure a reserve of three complete 
infantry divisions for the theater. In 
view of the port situation on the Con- 
tinent and the lack of accommodations 
in the United Kingdom he asked that 
no additional units be shipped except 
for the 'residues" of the 87th, 75th, and 
106th Divisions, already scheduled for 
mid-November. To provide similar re- 
inforcement of the 6th Army Group he 
asked that the regiments of three addi- 
tional divisions be shipped directly to 
Marseille late in November. This sched- 
ule, he pointed out, would provide a 

20 Cbl S-63616, Eisenhower to Marshall, 23 Oct 44, 
Eyes Only Cbls, Smith Papers. 



relief regiment for each of the 25 infan- 
try divisions in France plus 2 extra, and 
would also provide a strategic reserve 
of at least 3 infantry divisions in the 
United Kingdom in addition to what- 
ever armored units were not com- 
mitted. 21 This schedule General Eisen- 
hower considered the maximum allowed 
by the theater's tight logistic situation. 
Any plan calling for a faster flow, he 
asserted, would necessitate receiving 
units on the Continent, where they 
would have to be held near the ports. 22 
The theater commander asked the 
War Department for a week's deferment 
on a decision regarding the three di- 
visions remaining in the United States 
and on the shipment of the heavy equip- 
ment of those whose infantry elements 
were being accelerated. On 1 November 
he made known his wishes regarding 
those units. Because of continuing ad- 
ministrative difficulties, particularly the 
delay in the opening of Antwerp, he 
asked that the residues of only three 
divisions (the 66th, 69th, and 76th) be 
shipped to the United Kingdom in De- 
cember. For January he requested the 
shipment directly to southern France 
of the residues of the three divisions 
(42d, 63d, and 70th) whose infantry 
elements were already being preshipped 
to Marseille, and the shipment of three 
complete divisions (the 13th Armored 

21 The plan, as accepted by the War Department, 
called for the following schedule of shipments: the 
infantry regiments of the 87th, 75th, and 106th 
Divisions in October and the residues of these 
units to the United Kingdom in November; the 
infantry regiments of the 69th, 66th, and 76th 
Divisions to northern France and the infantry regi- 
ments of the 63d, 42d, and 70th Divisions to south- 
ern France in November. 

22 Cbl S-63876, Eisenhower to Marshall, 24 Oct 
44, OPD Cbl Files. 

and the 65th and 89th Infantry) to 
northern France on the assumption that 
Antwerp would then be open. This 
would complete the shipment of the resi- 
dues of all nine divisions whose in- 
fantry had been preshipped. ETOUSA 
asked that all February shipments, in- 
cluding one airborne, one infantry, and 
two armored divisions, be sent directly 
to northern France. Three of the twelve 
divisions whose infantry elements the 
War Department had urged be ad- 
vanced were to be shipped as whole di- 
visions according to this plan, although 
the theater agreed to accept the infantry 
elements of these three divisions as well 
if arrangements for their preshipment 
were already too far advanced. But the 
War Department agreed to follow the 
suggested schedule. 23 

As of this date— 1 November— there 
were 41 divisions in the theater, 34 of 
them (exclusive of the original 3 in 
the Dragoon force) on the Continent 
and 7 in the United Kingdom. The 
effect of the earlier accelerations was 
strikingly evident, for the over-all build- 
up was now ahead of its original sched- 
ule by 7 divisions. Logistic difficulties 
on the Continent had forced several of 
the divisions to stop over in the United 
Kingdom temporarily, however, and the 
34 divisions on the Continent thus far 
actually represented a gain of only 4 
ove r earlier build-up plans. (See Table 


The shipping schedule outlined by 
the theater early in November was fol- 

23 Cbl S-64961, SHAEF to AG WAR, 1 Nov 44, 
OPD Cbl Files; Cbl 57703, Marshall to Eisenhower, 
2 Nov 44, and Note for Record, 2 Nov 44, sub: 
Shipment of Divs to ETO, OPD 370.5 Sec. XV, 
Case 511. 



lowed substantially as agreed in the 
next two months. But not all of the 
preshipped infantry regiments were 
committed in a relief role as originally 
conceived. Theater officials, none too 
enthusiastic over the idea from the start, 
did not consider the experiment suc- 
cessful. Removing infantry regiments 
from their parent organizations and 
placing them under strange headquar- 
ters, even temporarily, created problems 
of both command control and supply. 
In the end the theater reconstituted at 
least two of the nine divisions as com- 
plete units in England before trans- 
ferring them to the Continent. 

Two final changes were made in the 
theater build-up, one involving an addi- 
tional acceleration and one a further 
augmentation of the troop basis. Early 
in January 1945 the War Department 
offered to advance the sailing dates of 
the four divisions on the ETOUSA 
troop list still in the United States. 
The theater accepted the proposal, and 
the 71st Infantry, 13th Airborne, and 
the 16th and 20th Armored Divisions, 
previously scheduled for shipment in 
February, each eventually gained about 
a week in its departure. This brought 
the number of divisions shipped to the 
European theater to fifty-six, plus the 
three of the Dragoon force. 

Meanwhile General Eisenhower, im- 
pressed by the offensive spirit the enemy 
was displaying in the Ardennes and 
alarmed over the possibility of enemy 
reinforcement from the east, made an 
urgent appeal for additional combat 
strength, even suggesting the consid- 
eration of diversions from other thea- 
ters. Only two divisions not already al- 
located to ETOUSA still remained in 

the United States, both of them ear- 
marked for the Pacific. The Joint Chiefs 
nevertheless approved the allocation of 
the two divisions to the ETOUSA troop 
basis. Both divisions (the 86th and 97th 
Infantry) arrived early in March, com- 
pleting the build-up and raising the 
theater's final strength to sixty-one di- 
visions. 24 Of this total, one—the 13th 
Airborne—was never committed, and 
two— the 16th and 20th Armored Di- 
visions—saw only a few days of combat. 25 

The speed-up in the shipment of U.S. 
forces to the European theater had its 
repercussions in the United Kingdom as 
well as on the Continent. ETOUSA had 
expected to close out U.S. installations 
in the United Kingdom fairly rapidly 
after the launching of Overlord in 
accordance with the Reverse Bolero or 
Rhumba plan. The transfer of supplies 
to the Continent had lagged from the 
start, however, and had made it neces- 
sary for U.S. forces to retain depot fa- 
cilities in England much longer than 
planned. 26 The stepped-up flow of di- 
visions from the United States created 
more serious complications, for many of 

24 Cbl S-74039, Eisenhower to CCS, 7 Jan 45, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Post-OvERLORD Planning; Cbl 
WARX-88482, Marshall to Eisenhower, 8 Jan 45, 
OPD 381 1943-45; Cbl WAR-88705, Hull to Eisen- 
hower, 8 Jan 45, OPD Cbl Files; Memo, Leahy for 
FDR, early Jan 45, OPD Exec Office File 9; Cbl 
5-74327, Eisenhower to Marshall, 9 Jan 45, OPD 
Cbl Files; and Memo, J. F. M. Whiteley, Deputy 
Asst CofS G-3, for CofS, 9 Jan 45, sub: Allocs of 
Additional Inf Divs to the ETO, SHAEF G-3 
370.01 Troop Build-up, II. 

"Forty-two U.S. divisions were shipped to France 
in World War I, and an additional one was or- 
ganized in France. Of the total, thirty-one saw 

20 See Chapter XIV, Section 4, below, for an 
account of the progress in clearing the U.K. supply 



the units had to be diverted to the 
United Kingdom, where handling of 
their equipment added to the burden 
of English ports and inland transport, 
and where many troop accommodations 
had already been turned back to the 

On the assumption that divisions 
would proceed from the United States 
directly to the Continent beginning in 
September, the Rhumba plan had pro- 
vided that U.S. field forces should be 
completely cleared out of the United 
Kingdom and that the total U.S. 
strength there should be reduced to 
about 650,000 (including an expected 
137,000 hospital patients) by the end 
of October 1944. 27 Shipments to France 
proceeded more or less according to 
schedule throughout the summer, and 
at the end of September only 34,000 
field force troops, including only one 
division, remained in England. Total 
U.S. strength there was down to about 
688,000 men. (Table pj\ The acceptance 
of eight divisions in France that month 
completely saturated Continental port, 
beach, and transportation facilities, how- 
ever, and when two more divisions (the 
84th Infantry and 12th Armored) ar- 
rived in European waters at the end 
of the month there was no choice but 
to divert them to the United Kingdom. 

Both U.S. and British officials had 
foreseen the possibility that a few di- 
visions might have to be accepted in 
the United Kingdom in view of the new 
schedule of shipments, and they had 
made arrangements to accommodate up 
to three at a time. But they hardly ex- 
pected the flood which was to follow. In 

the next three months twelve divisions 
had to be accepted in the United King- 
dom—in fact, all the divisions shipped 
from the United States in that period 
except for those diverted to Marseille. 
Early in October British officials, rec- 
ognizing the operational necessity there- 
for, reluctantly agreed to make addi- 
tional facilities available so that seven 
divisions could be accommodated. By 
the end of the month they had been pre- 
vailed upon to increase the number to 
nine. In the meantime, however, they 
asked the Combined Chiefs to defer sail- 
ings in order to limit the number accom- 
modated in the United Kingdom at any 
one time to six. The diversions had al- 
ready caused port discharge as well as 
accommodations problems, for they in- 
volved the handling of vehicles and 
other equipment as well as personnel. 28 

It was partly because of these consid- 
erations that SHAEF urged the War De- 
partment not to carry out the accelera- 
tion of infantry regiments which it pro- 
posed in October. In submitting its 
counterplan on 1 November SHAEF 
noted that to keep more than six di- 
visions in the United Kingdom would 
necessitate the withdrawal to the United 
Kingdom of service troops badly needed 
on the Continent. 29 The number of 
divisions in the United Kingdom actu- 
ally rose to seven at one time in October. 

Transfers to the Continent improved 
somewhat in November. But there still 
were five divisions in the United King- 
dom at the end of the month, and U.S. 

27 Rhumba Plan, Hq ETO, 3 May 44, EUCOM 
$1 Rhumba Special File. 

58 Cbl 85685, Troopers to SHAEF, 20 Oct 44, 
SHAEF AG 370.5-6 General 1944; Mil Shipments 
Priority Mtgs of Sep and Oct 44, SHAEF AG 

w Cbl S-64691, SHAEF to AGWAR, 1 Nov 44, 
SHAEF G-4 381 Troop Unit Basis 1944, I. 



Table 9 — Theater Strength by Major Component 
May 1944-ApRiL 1945 





tions zone 



Divisions* 1 

31 May 44 Theater 








30 June 

44 Theater 

1 ,625,000 

c in 7no 

A%f\ CCC\ 

37S 9QA 

j / , iyo 


Ji , Ul / 

1U 1 , Jio 


Continent — 

( A ) 

( A ) 




( A ) 


( A ) 

( A ) 

( A ) 


31 Jul 

44 Theater, 

1 *T7f\ OA C 

1 ,770,845 

*7t c 1 co 


A A 7 Q1 Q 

44/ ,oltS 

111 oca 
41 j ,030 

OO, 4ZO 

11S 9SA 
1 10 , ZOO 


















31 Aug 44 Theater 

1 nn c 1 c 1 

1,905 , 261 

ICC Cf\1 

/55 ,60J 

44-y , oiso 

A7Q 1 CO 

4/y , Jj/ 

J , Z / J 

1 J J , JJO 


















30 Sep 

44 Theater. _ 

^ r\ a 1 ni 1 

2,041 ,023 

OCA 1 A 

854, 14o 

A AO 71 1 

442 , / 1 1 

con on J. 

09 run 
yz , uiu 

1S1 19fl 
1 j 1 , JZU 

j 1 

















31 Oct 

44 Theater _ 

2, 196, 785 

1 nr\c 1 nn 

1 ,006, iyo 

A 7 C 7QA 

435 , Jo4 

J Jo , JO 

on /y\± 
, out 

19C Q£7 

IZj ,70/ 


















30 Nov 44 Theater 

1 coo noi 

2, 5oo,983 

en 170 
450, J /0 

/ri 1 njQ 
OZ J , U4o 

1J.1 9^0 
i^i , zoy 

1 1 s nni 


Continent — 








U.K. .._ 








31 Dec 

44 Theater 


1, 315,201 

A A 1 CIA 

443 , 634 

65/, YLy 

1 70 n7G 
1 /z,0/o 

111 17C 

1 1 1 , J / D 


















31 Jan 

45 Theater 

2, 829,039 

1 , 402 , 060 

a aC\ C 1 7 

440 ,51/ 


654, 5Z5 


lyj , j j / 

1 i& Ann 

1 JO, OUU 

c e 

j j 
















28 Feb 

45 Theater, 























31 Mar 

45 Theater 























30 Apr 

45 Theater, __ 













70, 194 










Source: Progress Reports, Hq ETOUSA Jun 44-May 45, ETO 
Adm. U.S. Forces in Southern France, including the three divisions in 
Operation Dragoon, are included for the first time in the 30 Novem- 
ber figures. These data are preliminary, unaudited figures prepared 
for command purposes and, while differing slightly from the audited 
DA AG strengths, have been used throughout this volume hecause of 
the subdivision into air, ground, and service troops. This hrealcdown 
is unavailable in DA AG reports. 

* Mainly hospital patients. 

e Ground Force Replacement System. ^ 

d Discrepancies between these figures andlTahlefjas to the num- 

her of divisions on the Continent and in the United Kingdom are ac- 
counted for hy the fact that di visions we re often split as of the end of 
the month. Dates of arrival in |Tahle 8| are for headquarters, regard- 
less of the location of the bulk oftneaivision. 

e Does not include 14,430 men in Iceland on 31 May 1944. 

/ Included in nonoperating total for this date. 

Does not include 13,444 men in Iceland on 30 June 1944, 

A Breakdown unavailable for June. 

* Includes the two airborne divisions which had returned to the 
United Kingdom. 



troop strength there at one time during 
that month exceeded 700,000, of which 
165,000 comprised field forces. 30 The 
situation did not improve noticeably 
with the opening of Antwerp. In De- 
cember the Communications Zone, 
strained to meet urgent operational com- 
mitments attending the sudden change 
in the tactical situation when the Ger- 
mans broke through in the Ardennes, 
asked the British to accept additional 
troop convoys. The request did not en- 
tail the release of additional accommo- 
dations, but it did mean postponing 
relief for the congested British ports and 
railways. British officials agreed to accept 
an additional convoy as a matter of 
paramount military necessity. No addi- 
tional divisions actually were routed 
through England. The last division to 
be accepted in the United Kingdom (the 
76th Infantry) debarked on 21 Decem- 
ber, and by mid-January 1945 all U.S. 
divisions had been transferred to the 
Continent. 31 

The difficulties attending the accelera- 
tion of the divisional build-up demon- 
strated rather pointedly the futility of 
attempting to commit more combat 
strength than was logistically support- 
able. For at least three months in the fall 
of 1944 U.S. administrative resources 
were simply unequal to the task of sup- 
porting all the available divisions in com- 
bat. Logistic planners had in fact before 

30 Mil Shipments Priority Mtg, 4 Nov 44; Conf of 
24 Nov 44, Chorpening for Vaughan, SHAEF G-4 
337 Comd and Stf Conf 1944, I. 

31 Mil Shipment Priority Mtgs, 23 and 30 Dec 44, 
SHAEF AG 337-18; Min, U.K. Base Stf Mtg, 26 
Dec 44, First Army 337; Office of the Theater His- 
torian, Order of Battle of the United States Army, 
World War II, European Theater of Operations, 

D Day predicted with remarkable accu- 
racy that port discharge and transporta- 
tion deficiencies rather than the availabil- 
ity of divisions would be the factors limit- 
ing the strength that could be com- 
mitted against the enemy beginning at 
about D plus 120 (early October). Sev- 
eral divisions consequently remained 
idle after arriving in the theater, some 
of them in the United Kingdom, and 
some on the Continent in the vicinity 
of the ports. 

(2) Service and Supporting Troops 

Part of the problem of accelerating 
the build-up lay in the inadequacy of 
physical facilities on the Continent— 
mainly ports and transportation. Almost 
as important was the shortage of service 
troops. Plans had called for a division 
slice of about 40,000 men, 15,000 of 
which were to consist of corps and army 
troops (both service and supporting 
units) and 1 0,000 of communications 
zone troops. On this basis the War De- 
partment in February 1944 had au- 
thorized a theater troop strength of 2,- 
390,000 men, including air forces. 

The War Department had insisted 
that requests for service troops be kept 
at the absolute minimum when the 
troop basis was prepared in 1943 and 
the technical service chiefs considered 
their final allotments inadequate in 
many categories. Moreover, there was no 
certainty that they had requested the 
various types of troop units in proper 
proportion, for requirements could not 
be accurately foreseen. The troop basis 
therefore had little stability, and liter- 
ally hundreds of changes were eventually 
made to meet the shifting needs. 

As could be expected, many deficien- 



cies and some surpluses developed. Every 
service chief had to resort to the ex- 
pedient of using units in work for which 
they had not been organized or trained, 
and in some cases had to deactivate units 
in order to get manpower for more 
urgently needed types. The experience 
of the engineers was fairly typical. Lack 
of sufficient depot troops forced the 
Corps of Engineers to assign an engineer 
general service regiment to depot opera- 
tions even before D Day. Failure to close 
out the depots in the United Kingdom 
after D Day aggravated the shortage 
and led to the assignment of additional 
construction units to depot and mainte- 
nance operations. Twelve base equip- 
ment companies likewise were employed 
entirely in depot and maintenance op- 
erations and never performed the func- 
tions for which they were trained. 
Shortages of petroleum distribution 
companies, resulting from the rapid ex- 
tension of the pipelines, were also met 
in part by the assignment of general 
service regiments to assist in the opera- 
tion of the pipelines, and finally by the 
conversion of engineer combat bat- 
talions. Similarly, to meet a severe short- 
age of forestry companies, the engineers 
relied increasingly on general service 
regiments and combat engineer bat- 
talions to help in logging operations, 
and on civilian labor and prisoners of 
war to augment available units. 32 

The entire problem had been greatly 
aggravated in the summer and fall of 
1944, at first by the sudden and rapid 
extension of the lines of communication, 
and then by the speed-up in the ship- 
ment of divisional formations without 

32 Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 

adequate supporting tails. COMZ offi- 
cials had voiced their fears that the di- 
vision slice would suffer a reduction 
when the transfer of divisions from the 
United Kingdom was suddenly accel- 
erated in July. Their fears were hardly 
justified at the time, for the continental 
slice at the end of that month came to 
well over 43,000, and the theater slice 
to more than 50,000. The proportion 
of service troop support in France actu- 
ally rose somewhat in August, when only 
two divisions were added to the conti- 
nental strength. This did not necessarily 
mean that the slice was in proper bal- 
ance as to types of units, and acute 
shortages were in fact already develop- 
ing, particularly in transportation, depot, 
and maintenance units. 

Added misgivings over the adequacy 
of service troop support arose as the 
result of the War Department's aug- 
mentation of the theater's troop basis 
by nine divisions, and as a result of the 
decision made in August to speed the 
shipment of divisions from the zone of 
interior without assurance that they 
would have their required complement 
of service and supporting troops. The 
Communications Zone at first estimated 
that the theater would need about 80,000 
additional service and supporting troops 
for the increased divisional strength. 33 
In mid-August it submitted a longer list 
to SHAEF, admitting that it had in- 
cluded certain increases not justified 
by the additional divisions because 
they were needed to remedy existing 

33 [Capt. John E. Henderson] The Procurement 
and Use of Manpower in the ETO, Pt. IX of 
The Administrative and Logistical History of the 
ETO, Hist Div USFET, 1946, p. 187. 



General Bull, anticipating the objec- 
tions these requests would raise in Wash- 
ington, asked the G-4 and the medical, 
signal, and engineer officers at SHAEF 
to go over them carefully in light of 
operational experience thus far and op- 
erations planned for the future. The 
G-3 was especially conscious of the sev- 
eral warnings which the War Depart- 
ment had sounded on manpower limita- 
tions, and felt that every effort should 
be made to limit requests for additional 
personnel by exploring the possibilities 
of converting units in which there were 
surpluses and in utilizing liberated man- 
power for service activities. Any aug- 
mentation of the existing troop basis, 
he felt, would have to be met by the 
conversion of units already in the 
theater or by the elimination of a like 
number of personnel from the troop 
basis. 34 

Only a few days later the War De- 
partment in fact pointed out where 
ETOUSA could make an important sav- 
ing in manpower. The troop basis 
agreed to earlier had authorized the 
European theater 198 antiaircraft artil- 
lery battalions, 1 1 1 of which were either 
already in the theater or en route. The 
War Department felt that in view of 
the air superiority which it enjoyed 
ETOUSA could well afford to cancel 
some of the flow scheduled for the next 
few months so that the surplus could be 
converted into units for which there was 

31 Ltr, COMZ to SAC, 20 Aug 44, sub: Additional 
Sv and Supporting Troops Made Necessary by 
Additional Divs, SHAEF AG 370.5-6 General 1944; 
Ltr, Bull to G-4 et al., 22 Aug 44, sub: Troop 
Basis for ETO, SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop 
Basis 1944, I. 

greater need. 35 The theater agreed, and 
shortly thereafter reduced its require- 
ment for antiaircraft artillery to 146 
battalions. It also informed the War 
Department that it was considering 
other reductions and that it intended to 
convert certain units already in the the- 
ater, such as smoke generator units, to 
other use. 36 

The cancellation of antiaircraft artil- 
lery units represented a saving of about 
38,000 men, which ETOUSA expected 
to apply as a credit for units which it 
needed to meet deficiencies in the troop 
basis. It particularly desired additional 
truck drivers and counterintelligence 
troops, for which it had already sub- 
mitted a request. But the War Depart- 
ment promptly disabused the theater of 
any such idea, and informed ETOUSA 
that it was simply deleting the 38,000 
men from the troop basis. By War De- 
partment calculations, the European 
theater as of 1 August already had an 
overs trength of nearly 145,000 men, 
which constituted nearly half of the en- 
tire overstrength of the Army. ETOUSA, 
the War Department pointed out, still 
enjoyed a high priority for men and 
supplies, even at the cost of withholding 
badly needed units from other theaters. 
But in view of the fact that U.S. re- 
sources were insufficient to meet all 

35 Cbl W-88018, AGWAR to SHAEF, 28 Aug 44, 
SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis 1944, I. 

M Cbl FWD-14526, SHAEF to Marshall, 11 Sep 
44, SHAEF AG 370.5-6 General 1944. Early in 
October the theater was permitted to restore six 
battalions of antiaircraft artillery to the troop basis 
from surplus declared by the North African theater 
on the plea that needs for the defense of Antwerp 
had reduced theater resources to a dangerously 
low level. Cbl 8-62891, SHAEF to AGWAR, 10 
Oct 44, and Cbl WX-50722, AGWAR to SHAEF, 
23 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 370.5-6 General 1944. 



requirements, the theater would here- 
after have to submit detailed justifica- 
tion for any requests for augmentation 
of its existing troop basis. 37 

Theater officials were plainly cha- 
grined by the War Department's refusal. 
They had understood that the theater 
would get additional units by present- 
ing justification for them and by offering 
cuts in existing allotments, conditions 
which had been met. Now the War De- 
partment had offered nothing in return 
for its sacrifices. Why, it asked, were 
further deletions necessary, and pre- 
cisely what was the War Department's 
policy? 38 

General Bull supported the Commu- 
nications Zone in its stand. The need 
for additional service and supporting 
troops, he argued, had been clearly 
established by the experience of the 
past few months, in particular by the 
unexpected extension of the lines of 
communication. The pursuit across 
northern France, for example, had neces- 
sitated the overstrengthening of all truck 
and troop transport companies. This, 
the theater felt, was certainly sufficient 
justification for the request for addi- 
tional drivers. 39 

For the moment, at least, the War 

37 Cbl WAR-38881, AGWAR to ETO, 29 Sep 44, 
OPD 370.5 Sec. XIV, Cases 487-510; Memo, Brig 
Gen O. L. Nelson, Asst Deputy CofS to OPD, 
2 Sep 44, sub: Strength of the ETO 31 July 44, 
OPD 320.2 Sec. XX, Cases 365-90; Ltr, SHAEF 
to COMZ, 13 Sep 44, 1st Ind to COMZ Ltr of 20 
Aug 44, Chief of Staff 400, Sec. I, Cases 2-35. 

38 Cbl £052674, ETO to AGWAR, 6 Oct 44, and 
Cbl WAR-41104, AGWAR to ETO, 4 Oct 44, 
SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis 1944, I. 

39 Ltr, Bull to Smith, 8 Oct 44, sub: Theater 
Troop Basis, and Cbl E-515L6, ETO to AGWAR, 
1 Oct 44, SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis 
1944, I. 

Department was unmoved by these ex- 
planations. Once again it called atten- 
tion to the generous way in which the 
European theater had been treated with 
respect to the world-wide allocation of 
manpower. The simple fact was that 
savings had to be made. Where units 
originally authorized were no longer 
required there was no choice but to 
recover such resources for the satisfac- 
tion of other needs. In accord with this 
necessity the War Department an- 
nounced that it was placing the recently 
canceled antiaircraft artillery units in 
the undeployed reserve to help meet the 
need for service and supporting troops 
for the additional nine divisions recently 
allotted the European theater. It as- 
serted, moreover, that there was nothing 
inviolate about troop bases; they could 
be reduced as well as augmented. And 
it made clear that it had no intention 
of relinquishing its authority to control 
activation, inactivation, augmentation, 
and reorganization in such a way as to 
ensure the maximum exploitation of the 
nation's manpower resources. The im- 
plication was clear that the theater still 
did not appreciate the seriousness of the 
nation's manpower difficulties. 40 

Meanwhile the theater had revised its 
requirement for service and supporting 
troops needed for the nine additional 
divisions, the amended request totaling 
about 100,000 men. ETOUSA claimed 
that it no longer possessed an over- 
strength from which the needed units 
might be formed, for it had absorbed 
all surplus manpower in the process of 

40 Cbl WAR-46185, AGWAR to ETO, 13 Oct 44, 
SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis 1944, I; Memo, 
Handy for Hull, 18 Oct 44, OPD 370.5 Sec. XIV, 
Cases 487-510. 



augmenting truck companies so as to 
permit twenty-four-hour operation, and 
in the organization of provisional MP 
units to handle the large bag of pris- 
oners of war and guard supply shipments 
against pilfering. The activation of six- 
teen MP battalions and of sixteen pris- 
oner of war overhead detachments had 
absorbed about 13,500 men. As a matter 
of bookkeeping the War Department 
now added the MP battalions to the 
theater's troop basis and deleted a like 
number from units carried in the unde- 
ployed reserve. In the case of the pris- 
oner of war detachments it merely 
legalized an increase in the theater's 
overhead allotment. 41 

The War Department eventually au- 
thorized 123,000 men to provide the 
service and supporting troop comple- 
ment for the nine divisions. But it con- 
tinued to balk at the theater's request 
for augmentations to the existing troop 
basis, particularly the request for 16,000 
additional drivers, pointing out that 
ETOUSA had offered no compensating 
deletions. It finally approved the request 
for driver augmentation teams, but only 
on condition that the increase be accom- 
panied by the inactivation of ten field 
artillery battalions which had been ear- 
marked for ETOUSA in the undeployed 
reserve. The War Department wanted 
it clearly understood that the theater 
would be unable to get the field artillery 

41 Ltr, ETO to WD, 2 Oct 44, sub: Additional 
Sv and Supporting Troops for Nine Added Divs, 
ETO 320.2 Strength and Troop Basis, I; Note for 
Record, OPD, 23 Oct 44, sub: Constitution and 
Activation of Certain MP Units, OPD 320.2 Sec. 
XXU1, Cases 456-76; CM WARX-50661, Handy 
to Smith, 20 Oct 44, SHAEF Cbl Log (in), Smith 

units later if it elected to accept the 
driver augmentation. 42 

Any proposal to delete combat units 
from the troop basis naturally concerned 
the field commands. Theater headquar- 
ters therefore took the matter up with 
12 th Army Group, asking that it review 
its needs and recommend cancellations 
to compensate for the desired augmenta- 
tions. Twelfth Army Group's first reac- 
tion was to oppose any cut in the field 
force troop basis, at the same time argu- 
ing the absolute necessity for the re- 
quested augmentations. General Bradley 
apparently felt, however, that the need 
for additional service and supporting 
units outweighed that for combat units, 
and, after reconsidering, concurred in 
the surrender of the field artillery bat- 
talions in order to cover the driver aug- 
mentations. In fact, the field forces were 
willing to accept the inactivation of 
additional combat units in case the other 
augmentations they desired— involving 
about 10,000 men for army, corps, and 
division headquarters, corps and divi- 
sional signal and MP units, and military 
intelligence personnel requested by 6th 
Army Group— could be obtained in no 
other way. Twelfth Army Group nomi- 
nated the 20th Armored Division, due 
to arrive in February, for inactivation, 
should that be necessary. 43 

General Bull was not ready to accede 
to these proposals without a careful con- 

43 Memo, Brig Gen J. DeF. Barker, Deputy Chief 
Theater Gp OPD, information extracted from 
Memo for Lord, dated 30 Nov 44, and Cbl WAR— 
71217, AG WAR to ETO, 1 Dec 44, SHAEF G-3 
O&E 370.4 Troop Basis 1944, I- 

"TWX E-72663, COMZ to 12 A Gp, 10 Dec 44, 
and TWXs QX-30668 and QX-30669, 13 A Gp 
to ETO, 13 Dec 44, all in SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 
Troop Basis 1944, I. 



sideration of the consequences. He im- 
mediately asked General Crawford for 
a thorough review of the service support 
needs in the light of future operational 
plans in hopes of forestalling the inac- 
tivation of some or all of the field artil- 
lery battalions. The G-3 particularly 
questioned the need for 16,000 addi- 
tional drivers. He admitted that driver 
augmentations had been necessary at the 
time of the Red Ball Express, but sus- 
pected that they would constitute a 
luxury in view of the increasingly seri- 
ous manpower shortages. 44 

Bull's request led to the issuance of 
a directive to all the technical services 
asking them to review their service troop 
requirements. Once again the continu- 
ing competition over the slicing of the 
manpower pie was clearly evident. As 
might have been expected, G-4 officials 
and the technical service chiefs were 
unanimous in their opposition to any 
sacrifice of service units, and they were 
not lacking in arguments. The issue, as 
Crawford put it, really resolved itself 
into the necessity to decide between the 
G-3 and the G-4 estimate as to the 
course of future operations— that is, be- 
tween the G-3's estimate that continued 
heavy resistance well into the summer 
of 1945 required that the theater have 
additional field artillery at its disposal, 
and the G-4's anticipation of a possible 
break-through into Germany, which 
would require that truck transportation 
be brought up to its maximum efficiency 
and potential so that it could support a 
sustained drive over extended lines of 

44 Memo, Bull for Crawford, 15 Dec 44, sub: 
Additional Drivers for QM Truck Companies, 
SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis 1944, I. 

communication. Reinforcing the G-4 
viewpoint was the urgent requirement 
to clear the mounting tonnages being 
discharged in the ports. Crawford noted, 
moreover, that there was little prospect 
that ammunition supply would improve 
sufficiently by the summer of 1945 to 
permit the 8-inch howitzer battalions 
already in the theater to expend ammu- 
nition at the 12th Army Group's desired 
rates. This prospect, plus the lateness 
of their availability, seemed to depre- 
ciate the value of the ten battalions. 

The service chiefs were equally ap- 
palled at the thought of losing man- 
power to compensate for other activa- 
tions. Most of them could go beyond 
defending their current troop bases and 
show that they were already deficient in 
manpower and strained to provide the 
theater's minimum service needs. The 
chief quartermaster, for example, argued 
that his requirements would rise, if any- 
thing, because it would be impossible 
to rely on prisoners of war as extensively 
for labor after entering Germany. In the 
view of the service chiefs, the need for 
every unit in the troop basis had long 
since been thoroughly justified. Service 
troop needs, they argued, had been kept 
to the lowest possible figures in the prep- 
aration of the theater troop basis. The 
War Department, admitting that it had 
not provided sufficient service troops in 
the world-wide troop basis, had made 
additional cuts. Finally, ETOUSA's 
troop basis had been drawn up on the 
assumption that it would have to sup- 
port only four armies. But it had had 
to help make up deficiencies in the 
Dragoon force, and had also borne the 
brunt of deletions to provide unforeseen 
non-T/O overheads for SHAEF and 



other headquarters. In short, the tech- 
nical services considered any deletions 
of service troop units as inadmissable. 45 

The carefully documented case pre- 
sented by the G-4 and the technical serv- 
ice chiefs apparently failed to convince 
the G-3. General Bull continued to op- 
pose the inactivation of both the field 
artillery battalions and the 20th Ar- 
mored Division, and thought the matter 
should be examined further. Late in 
December he asked the theater G-3, 
General Eyster, for additional informa- 
tion on which to base a decision. 46 

The Communications Zone, hoping at 
least to settle the matter of the field artil- 
lery inactivations, pressed the two army 
groups to come to an agreement on their 
desires regarding the various augmen- 
tations and reorganizations they had 
requested for army, corps, and di- 
vision headquarters. More specifically, 
it wanted to know whether the army 
groups would carry out the proposed 
changes at the expense of combat units 
or through the cancellation of the truck 
drivers, and, if so, what units they would 

45 Memo, Crawford for Bull, 21 Dec 44, Memo, 
G-3 (Opns) for G-4 et at, 18 Dec 44, sub: Dele- 
tions from U.S. Troop Basis to Compensate for 
Essential Allotments, Study, Col William Whipple, 
20 Dec 44, sub: Additional Drivers for QM Truck 
Companies, Memo OCQM for G-4, 21 Dec 44, sub: 
Deletion of QM Units From Theater Troop Basis, 
Memo, OCOO for G-4, 21 Dec 44, sub: Depletion 
U.S. Troop Basis to Compensate for Essential Al- 
lotments, Memo, Chief of SvC Troop Br G-4 
COMZ for G-4 SHAEF, 21 Dec 44, sub: Deletions 
From U.S. Troop Basis to Compensate for Essential 
Allotments, Ltr, G-4 SHAEF to G-3, 26 Dec 44, 
sub: Deletions from U.S. Troop Basis to Compen- 
sate for Essential Allotments, all in SHAEF G-3 
O&E 370.5 Troop Basis. 

4(1 Memo, Bull for Eyster, 29 Dec 44, sub: Fid 
Force Troop Basis of the ETO, SHAEF G_3 O&E 
370.5 Troop Basis. 

be willing to delete to compensate for 
the changes. 47 

The two army groups, apparently tak- 
ing courage from General Bull's hesi- 
tation, now replied that they could not 
sacrifice any combat strength after all. 
Both commands listed the augmenta- 
tions they desired for the planned reor- 
ganizations without offering any sacri- 
fices of combat strength. The 12th Army 
Group asserted, moreover, that the pro- 
vision of additional personnel to permit 
truck companies to operate sixteen to 
twenty hours per day was absolutely 
mandatory. Withdrawal of the driver 
augmentation teams, it said, would 
merely result in a requirement for addi- 
tional truck companies. The army 
group's solution was simple: it recom- 
mended that ETOUSA ask the War De- 
partment to reconsider the presently 
established ceiling for the theater and 
authorize the needed troops. 48 

The army group replies hardly an- 
swered the theater's question. They in- 
dicated, moreover, that the field com- 
mands were totally ignorant of the ap- 
peals which the theater had already 
made to the War Department, and of 
the conditions which the latter had laid 
down for any additions to the theater's 
troop strength. 40 Nevertheless, the 12th 
Army Group refused to compromise and 
again tossed the problem back into the 
lap of theater headquarters. All the re- 
quested augmentations, it asserted, were 
essential and of equal priority; the de- 

17 TWX EX-80877, COMZ to 12 A Gp, 1 Jan 45, 
SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis. 

18 TWX BX-22462, 6 A Gp to 12 A Gp, 7 Jan 
45, and TWX, 12 A Gp to. COMZ, 21 Jan 45, both 
in SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis. 

49 TWX EX-89366, COMZ to 12 A Gp, 23 Jan 
45, SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis. 



letion of as many as 10,000 combat 
troops (involved in the deactivation of 
an armored division) would seriously 
unbalance the field force troop basis. 
Army group saw no solution except an 
increase in the troop basis. Once again 
it urged the theater to make an effort 
to convince the War Department that 
this would be necessary.™ 

SHAEF G-3 officials had come to simi- 
lar conclusions from an independent 
study. The original service and support- 
ing slice of 27,680 men, they argued, 
was the minimum and proper require- 
ment for the support of each division, 
based on the past eight months' opera- 
tions. On 31 December the theater had 
1,392,100 service and supporting troops. 
This number provided a slice of 26,800, 
which was barely adequate for the sup- 
port of the fifty-two divisions then pres- 
ent. The theater troop basis currently 
authorized a strength of 1,535,600 serv- 
ice and support troops, which would 
support not more than fifty-five divisions 
on the basis of a 27,680-man slice. The 
support of sixty-one divisions, which 
recently had been authorized the thea- 
ter, consequently required the addition 
of another 153,100 men to the troop 
basis, raising the total ground and serv- 
ice force basis to 2,404,800 men. G-3 
officials calculated that the increase 
should be apportioned in the ratio of 
25.8 percent for combat and supporting 
troops, 68 percent for service troops, 
and 6.2 percent for miscellaneous over- 
head and administrative services. 51 

The outlook for obtaining such an 

°°TWX QX-31078, 12 A Gp to ETO, 26 Jan 45, 
SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis. 

" Unsigned Memo on Troop Basis, G-3 SHAEF, 
26 Jan 45, SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis. 

augmentation was dark indeed. By late 
January, in fact, matters seemed to have 
reached an impasse, the theater at that 
time having requested augmentations 
totaling nearly 29,000 men, against 
which the War Department had offered 
about 3,600 men from the undeployed 
reserve without requiring compensating 
deletions. In the meantime the signal 
service had requested an additional 
18,000 men; but it was obvious that that 
request would not get favorable con- 
sideration. 52 

At the end of January, ETO USA, 
despairing of getting any concessions 
from the field forces, informed SHAEF 
that it had about decided to ask the War 
Department for an increase in the troop 
basis. 53 Meanwhile, however, it had also 
determined on certain downward re- 
visions of its earlier requests. Based on a 
restudy of its requirements it now de- 
cided to pare its total request by about 
6,000 men, from 28,700 to 22,600, the 
bulk of the saving to be effected through 
a reorganization of some of the theater's 
truck companies. Against this require- 
ment the War Department was ready 
to make available to the theater 3,656 
men without compensating deletions, 
5,600 as the result of inactivations of 
artillery units in the undeployed re- 
serve, 11,056 in miscellaneous units in 
the United States not specifically ear- 
marked for the European theater, and 
2,771 men resulting from a transfer of 
certain artillery units to the Mediter- 

B2 Memo, Twitchell for G-g, 24 Jan 45, sub: Rpt 
on Status of Fid Force Troop Basis, and Ltr, 
Twitchell to Bull, 23 Feb 45, sub: Additions to 
ETO Troop Basis, both in SHAEF G-3 O&E 370,5 
Troop Basis. 

M Cbl EX 92817, COMZ to SHAEF, 31 Jan 45, 
SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis. 



ranean theater, for a total of 23,083. 
Minor adjustments led to a slightly dif- 
ferent allocation, but agreement was 
finally reached with War Depart- 
ment officials early in February. 54 The 
sacrifice of the field artillery battalions 
proved the proper decision. German re- 
sistance was completely broken by mid- 
March, and the theater's most urgent 
need thereafter was for service support, 
particularly in transportation. 

Little hope remained that the theater 
would get the 153,100 men estimated 
as needed to fill out the troop basis for 
all sixty-one divisions. General Bull 
concluded that on the basis of past ex- 
perience the theater could expect no 
additional help from the zone of in- 
terior, and guessed that it would have 
to meet the deficit from its own re- 
sources. 55 General Crawford believed the 
shortages might be offset by more exten- 
sive use of civilians and prisoners of war, 
and by additional conversions of the less 
critical military units into the types 
needed. The theater had, in fact, already 
taken steps to utilize prisoners on a 
bigger scale. 56 

The theater's service troop problem 
had been aggravated by basic weaknesses 
in the composition of French forces in 

54 Ibid.; Ltr, Whiteley to Smith, 4 Feb 45, sub: 
Augmentations to Units on Theater Troop Basis 
and Atchd Study of Rqmts and Credits for Aug- 
mentations to U.S. Forces in ETO, 4 Feb 45, TWX 
E-95086, COMZ to 12 A Gp, 6 Feb 45, Cbl S-79719, 
SHAEF to COMZ, 11 Feb 45, Ltr, Twitchell to Bull, 
12 Feb 45, sub: Augmentations to Theater Troop 
Basis, Cbl EX-87333, COMZ to AGWAR, 12 Feb 
45, all in SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis. 

65 Ltr, Bull to Crawford, 14 Feb 45, sub: Troop 
Basis for ETO, SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop 

68 Memo, Crawford for Bull, 21 Feb 45, sub: 
Troop Basis for ETO, and Ltr, Crawford to Eyster, 

the 6th Army Group, and also by the 
problem of distribution within the thea- 
ter caused by the transfer of combat 
strength from one area to another. The 
problem of properly apportioning serv- 
ice troops between the north and the 
south arose as soon as the Dragoon 
forces came under SHAEF's control, in 
connection with both the transfer to the 
6th Army Group of three divisions al- 
ready in the theater and the proposed 
diversion to Marseille of three divisions 
scheduled for arrival in October. 

A misunderstanding immediately arose 
as to the intent of the diversion to 
Marseille. The 6th Army Group as- 
sumed that the three divisions were to 
be added to the forces in southern 
France, and its G-4, Brig. Gen. Clar- 
ence L. Adcock, went to Paris in mid- 
September to submit a list of the service 
troops required by the 6th Army Group 
to support the units in combat. The 
12th Army Group was under the impres- 
sion that the three divisions were being 
routed through Marseille only because 
of congestion on the northern lines of 
communication, and naturally opposed 
the loss of combat units originally sched- 
uled for assignment to its control, to say 
nothing of the prospect of sacrificing 
service and supporting units as well. In 
view of its own logistic difficulties, how- 
ever, it could hardly deny the logic of 
committing those divisions in an area 
where there was greater likelihood of 
providing adequate support, although 
the diversion entailed a delay in the 
build-up of the newly arrived Ninth 
Army. As COMZ and SHAEF supply 

24 Feb 45, sub: Troop Basis for ETO, both in 
SHAEF G-3 O&E 370.5 Troop Basis. 



officials pointed out, the divisions could 
well be spared, since they were in excess 
of the number that could be supported 
in the north. 57 

Of much greater concern to supply 
staffs was the proposed transfer of serv- 
ice and support units. Such transfers 
obviously could have no other result 
than to reduce the scale of support in 
the north, where supply was already 
strained, and would therefore be con- 
trary to SHAEFs declared policy direc- 
tive giving operations in the north the 
highest priority. With these considera- 
tions in mind Colonel Whipple, the 
SHAEF chief of logistical plans, recom- 
mended that the transfers of service 
troops southward for the support of 
more than the ten divisions originally 
allotted to operations in southern France 
be approved only insofar as they could 
be spared without impairing the efforts 
of the 21 and 12th Army Groups. 58 

SHAEF meanwhile confirmed the 6th 
Army Group's claim that the three dis- 
puted divisions were intended for use in 
the south. Both the Communications 
Zone and 12th Army Group had already 
drawn up tentative lists of units which 
they were willing to have transferred 
in the event SHAEF should so decide, 
and on 22-23 September representatives 
of SHAEF, the Communications Zone, 
and the two army groups met at Lyon 
to agree on the exact number of units 

"Memo, Col B. A. Holtzworth, Chief Orgn Br 
G-3 12 A Gp, 14 Sep 44, sub: Dragoon SvC Troop 
Rqmt; Memo, Osmanski for Whipple, 16 Sep 44, 
sub: Mtgs in Paris on Diversion of Troops to 
Marseille, SHAEF G-4 Diversion of Service Troops 
Dragoon, Box 1, Folder 51. 

58 Memo, Whipple for G-4, 19 Sep 44, sub: 
Diversion of Log Resources for Support of Dragoon 
Forces, SHAEF G-4 381 Anvil. 

of each type that were to be transferred 
to southern France. 59 

In the course of the conference Gen- 
eral Devers' chief of staff, Maj. Gen. 
David G. Barr, admitted that the re- 
quests originally made by the 6th Army 
Group included units required to meet 
earlier shortages in the Dragoon troop 
basis. These were quickly discounted, 
for the conference had no authority to 
remedy basic deficiencies or compensate 
for original shortages. Moreover, 12th 
Army Group certainly would have ob- 
jected to such adjustments, or would at 
least have countered with claims of its 
own. Nor was there, in view of the over- 
all shortages in the theater, any thought 
of providing the diverted units with any- 
thing like "normal" administrative tails 
specified in logistical planning factors. 
Instead, the principle was generally fol- 
lowed of considering the total number 
of units of particular types available in 
the theater and making an equitable 
redistribution so as to provide approxi- 
mately equal support to all divisions in 
the theater. On this basis SHAEF on 29 
September ordered the transfer of a 
specific number of service and support- 
ing troop units, totaling about 29,000 
men, to 6th Army Group for the sup- 
port of the six divisions scheduled for 
transfer or diversion to southern France 
—that is, the XV Corps, consisting of the 
2d French Armored and the 79th U.S. 
Infantry Divisions, plus one division to 
be designated later, 60 and the three di- 

09 Memo, Osmanski for Whipple, 24 Sep 44 sub: 
Discussion With Hq 6 A Gp— Diversion of Support- 
ing Sv Troops, SHAEF G-4 Diversion of Service 
Troops Dragoon, Box 1, Folder 51. 

60 The 12th Armored Division, which did not ar- 
rive until November. 



visions which were to arrive at Marseille 
the next month (the 100th and 103d 
Infantry and 14th Armored Divisions). 61 

Hopes were high at this time that the 
southern line of communications might 
develop surplus capacity which could 
help sustain forces in the north. General 
Adcock, in arguing for additional serv- 
ice units for the southern army group, 
had asserted, in fact, that the ports and 
line of communications of southern 
France had a potential capability of sup- 
porting the entire Third Army in addi- 
tion to the recently augmented Dragoon 
force of sixteen divisions. 62 With this 
prospect in mind, COMZ officials of 
both the European and Mediterranean 
theaters met at Dijon on 11-12 October 
to consider additional transfers of service 
troops for the purpose of developing the 
maximum capacity of the Rhone line 
of communications. SOLOC planned to 
develop rail facilities in southern France 
sufficiently to handle 20,000 tons per 
day, 4,000 of which would be in excess 
of its own needs. For this purpose it 
badly needed engineer and signal troops, 
truck companies, and port battalions, 
its total requirement coming to about 
38,000 men. 63 

SOLOGs bid again raised the ques- 
tion as to the relative adequacy of logis- 
tic support in the two areas. Although 
it considered the request reasonable, the 
Communications Zone at first opposed 
any additional transfers on the ground 

61 Ltr, SHAEF to COMZ, 29 Sep 44, sub: Transfer 
of Supporting and Sv Units, SHAEF G-4 Diversion 
of Service Troops, Dragoon, Box 1, Folder 51; 
Notes on Conf at Hq SOLOC, 17 Jan 45, ETO 334 
Confs at SOLOC. 

62 Memo, Osmanski for Whipple, 24 Sep 44. 

63 Notes on Conf, 11-12 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 337 
Conference 1944, I. 

that they could not be spared without 
seriously affecting the support of the 
12th Army Group. Operations in the 
north had higher priority than those in 
the south, and the Communications 
Zone was making every effort in October 
to rebuild the supply structure support- 
ing the 12th Army Group so that the 
offensive could be resumed early the 
next month. 

Supply officers at SHAEF reacted 
similarly. Colonel Whipple, after a re- 
study of the respective troop bases of 
the northern and southern forces, con- 
cluded that any additional diversions 
would provide the southern forces with 
more nearly adequate logistic support 
than those in the north. Completion of 
the transfers and diversions then in 
progress, he calculated, would result in 
division slices of about 39,000 and 34,- 
500 men respectively for the Overlord 
and Dragoon forces. These were admit- 
tedly short of the 40,000 and 42,500 
respectively originally planned for the 
two areas. 64 

Two developments had occurred, 
however, which were completely dis- 
rupting plans for the adequate support 
of U.S. forces in the north. The recent 
accelerations in the flow of divisions 
from the United States were so unbal- 
ancing the troop basis that forces in 
northern France would be short five 
average administrative tails by Decem- 
ber. Furthermore, the rapid extension 
of lines of communications in August 
and September had so thinned out the 

6 * The planned 40,000-man slice was made up as 
follows: 14,953 men in the division, 6,666 support- 
ing combat troops in the army and corps, 8,028 
service troops in the army and corps, and 10,263 
service troops in the communications zone, not 
including those in the United Kingdom* 



available logistical resources that the 
planned slice, designed to operate a road 
line of communications of no more than 
150 miles, could no longer adequately 
support a division at the German bor- 
der. Colonel Whipple estimated that 
thirty divisional tails were adequate to 
support only about twenty divisions in 
the existing circumstances. On the other 
hand, twelve tails in southern France, 
he argued, could support an equal num- 
ber of divisions in the Belfort gap, as 
planned. Summing up, he asserted that 
the 12th Army Group must get first 
consideration as long as its operations 
had higher priority. 05 

The Communications Zone, probably 
because it better appreciated the logistic 
straits of the theater and the value of 
any additional line-of-communications 
capacity that might be developed, was 
willing to meet at least part of the 6th 
Army Group request. It suggested the 
transfer of about 15,000 men, some of 
them to come from its own resources, 
some from the 12th Army Group. But 
protests from the latter resulted in the 
major portion of the allotment being 
made from the Communications Zone. 
The SHAEF G-4 finally determined 
exactly what units were to be transferred 
on the basis of operational priorities, 
and on 21 October ordered the trans- 
fers. 60 

05 Memo, Whipple for Crawford, 12 Oct 44, sub: 
Diversions of Sv Troops to Dragoon, and Draft 
Memo, Crawford for CofS (apparently drafted by 
Whipple), n.d-, sub: Sv Troops for Dragoon Force, 
both in SHAEF G-4 381 Anvil 1944, I. 

6U Ltr, Lord to CG COMZ NATO, 14 Oct 44, 
sub: Additional COMZ Troops Required in South- 
ern France, Ltr, Lord to SHAEF, 15 Oct 44, same 
sub, Memo, Whipple for G-4, 17 Oct 44, sub: 
Diversion of Sv Troops to Dragoon, Ltr, Whipple 
to G-4, 18 Oct 44, sub: Sv Troops to Dragoon, 

Although the 12th Army Group had 
avoided a major raid on its own re- 
sources, it realized that transfers from 
the Communications Zone would ulti- 
mately have their effect on the combat 
zone. It was particularly concerned 
about the loss of ordnance maintenance 
units, and stated that the effect would 
soon be evident unless replacements 
were provided. Moreover, it suspected, 
with some justification, that the 6th 
Army Group bid had again included 
troop units which were not required 
solely for the planned development of 
the Rhone line of communications, but 
to correct original deficiencies in its 
troop basis. If such was the case, the 
12th Army Group requested that the 
theater ask the War Department for 
additional service troops to compensate 
for reductions in the planned propor- 
tion of service to combat troops. But 
ETOUSA disapproved this request, hav- 
ing only recently been turned down on 
the matter of the credit for the deleted 
antiaircraft artillery battalions. 

The recent transfers continued to 
worry the 1 2 th Army Group, which 
feared future raids. In its view, the the- 
ater was not facing up to the basic 
deficiencies in the troop basis, and it 
was dissatisfied with what it considered 
a haphazard manner of meeting crises 
by shuffling resources between the vari- 
ous areas in the theater. Uncertainty as 
to future action on service troops obvi- 
ously troubled the field commands, just 
as uncertainty over supply was also af- 
fecting operational planning at this time. 

and Ltr, SHAEF to COMZs ETO and NATO, 21 
Oct 44, sub: Sv Troops for Dragoon, all in SHAEF 
G-4 Diversion of Service Troops Dragoon, Box i, 
Folder 51. 



The army group wanted a definite allo- 
cation of units available or due from the 
United States so that it would know 
what it could count on having. SHAEF 
recognized the reasonableness of the 
request and late in November instructed 
the Communications Zone to make a 
firm allocation o£ service units between 
the field forces and the Communications 
Zone. Such an allocation was finally 
made early in February 1945. 07 

Early in November 6th Army Group 
again had requested additional service 
troops, mainly because of the situation 
in the First French Army. The French 
had been willing enough to form com- 
bat divisions, but had been notoriously 
remiss about activating and training the 
required complements of service and 
supporting troops. U.S. forces conse- 
quently had been forced to provide a 
larger and larger share of First French 
Army's logistic support in southern 
France. 08 SHAEF considered the new re- 
quests, admitted their reasonableness and 
desirability, but finally disallowed them. 
The strained logistic situation, it noted, 
plus the fact that operational priorities 
continued to favor forces in the north, 
simply prohibited additional transfers 
from the north/' 9 

"Ltr, Maj Gen Leven C. Allen, CofS 12 A Gp, 
to CG ETO, 25 Oct 44, sub: Sv Troops for 6A 
Gp, with Inds 3, 16, and 24 Nov 44, and 5 Feb 
45, ETO 381/320 Troops— Overlord 1944. 

68 Marcel Vigneras, Rearming the French, 
(Washington, 1957), a volume in the Special Studies 
subseries, treats the subject of French forces in 
detail. See especially Chapter VII. 

fi9 Stf Study, G-3 Opns SHAEF, sub: Availability 
and Distribution of Supporting Units, 14 Nov 44, 
and Ltr, Smith to Devers, 23 Nov 44, sub: Addi- 
tional Combat Support for 6A Gp, SHAEF G-3 
War Diary. 

Despairing of obtaining additional 
troops, General Larkin, the SOLOC 
commander, now urged both Delta Base 
Section and CONAD to organize a much 
fuller utilization of German prisoners 
of war. SOLOC was already making ex- 
tensive use of Italian service units. 70 At- 
tempts were also made to employ civil- 
ian labor, but the demand far exceeded 
the supply. The Seventh Army had 
found, for example, that the Germans 
had removed most of the able-bodied 
men from Alsace. What manpower re- 
mained was either needed for the civil- 
ian economy or was being recruited by 
the French military services. 71 

Determining precisely what the scale 
of service support on the northern and 
southern lines of communications was 
at any one time was a highly contro- 
versial matter, as was always the case 
where statistics were involved. On 1 
December, for example, the division 
slice within the 6th Army Group ex- 
ceeded 30,000 men while that of the 
12 th was in the neighborhood of only 
27,000. Compensating for this seeming 
imbalance, however, was the fact that 
each division on the northern line of 
communications was supported by about 
11,300 service troops in the communica- 
tions zone, while in the south the corre- 
sponding figure, according to ETOUSA, 
was only 8,600. The total theater slice 
on the two lines of communications 
therefore appeared to be roughly in 

70 Ltr, Larkin to CGs CONAD and Delta Base 
Sec, 30 Nov 44, SOLOC Gen Larkin Out File. 

"See Ch. XVIII, Sec. 2, for a summary of the 
attempts at local procurement of labor. Ltr, Larkin 
to CGs CONAD and Delta Base Sec, 30 Nov 44, 
SOLOC Gen Larkin Out File; Seventh Army G-4 
Periodic Rpt 2, 10 Dec 44, SUSA 319.1 G-4 Weekly 
Periodic Rpts. 



balance, totaling 38,000 in the north and 
39,000 in the south. 

But there were other factors to con- 
sider. The ETOUSA G-3 pointed out 
in December that the SOLOC totals did 
not include about 20,000 men in the 
Italian service units, which were em- 
ployed in support of the forces in south- 
ern France. Their inclusion, on the basis 
of the nine U.S. divisions then opera- 
tional in the 6th Army Group, raised 
the slice of the southern France forces 
from 8,600 to 10,800. 72 General Larkin 
was quick to challenge the basis on 
which this comparison had been made. 
For one thing, it had taken no account 
of the eight divisions of the First French 
Army, the support of which was fully 
as much a responsibility of SOLOC as 
was the support of the Seventh U.S. 
Army, but for which the French had 
thus far provided only 18,300 service 
troops. Moreover, he noted that Italian 
service units could not be counted as 
having the same effectiveness as trained 
U.S. military units. More properly, 
Larkin maintained, SOLOC, with a 
strength of 106,464 service troops (88,- 
164 U.S. and 18,300 French) was sup- 
porting 17 divisions (9 U.S. and 8 
French), the COMZ slice thus averaging 
only 6,262 men. 73 

In the meantime two further augmen- 
tations of the 6th Army Group's com- 
bat strength, one of them temporary, 
had added to SOLOC's service troop dif- 
ficulties. Early in December the nine 
infantry regiments of the 42d, 63d, and 
70th Divisions arrived at Marseille 

"Ltr, Eyster to Larkin, 18 Dec 44, SOLOC Gen 
Larkin Out File. 

73 Ltr, Larkin to Eyster, 27 Dec 44, SOLOC Gen 
Larkin Out File. 

minus their normal divisional service 
support. Later in the month the 6th 
Army Group acquired another division 
(the 87th Infantry) as the result of the 
shift in the army group boundary arising 
out of the situation in the Ardennes. 
Sixth Army Group's strength thus rose 
to twenty-one divisions. The latter 
acquisition turned out to be temporary; 
but the nine infantry regiments, al- 
though initially intended for employ- 
ment on a rotational basis, were the 
advance elements of three full divisions. 
SOLOC and 6th Army Group therefore 
took the occasion to request additional 
service troops. 

As of mid-January nothing had yet 
come of this request, and General Devers 
again appealed for additional service 
troops, noting that the separate infantry 
regiments had been employed constantly 
since their arrival without adequate serv- 
ice or combat support, and that the 
arrival of the remaining elements of the 
divisions within the next few days would 
shortly necessitate the support of the 
complete units. Members of the SOLOC 
staff repeated this plea at a conference 
with Generals Lee and Somervell a few 
days later, and noted that additional 
French divisions were also scheduled for 
activation and commitment. SOLOC 
officials claimed that the COMZ service 
troop slice in southern France had 
dropped to 4,425 men, and argued that 
southern France was critically short of 
service troops despite the maximum use 
of prisoners, Italians, and civilians. 74 

SHAEF at this time made an addi- 
tional allocation of service units based 

"Cbl 6-22667, 6 A Gp to SHAEF, 13 Jan 45, 
ETO Cbls, ETO Adm; Notes on Conf at Hq 
SOLOC, 17 Jan 45, ETO 334 Confs at SOLOC. 



on the assignment of 12 U.S. divisions 
to the 6th Army Group. Almost simul- 
taneously it transferred the equivalent 
of another corps to the 6th Army Group 
for the Colmar operation, which gave 
the 6th Army Group a strength of 16 
U.S. and g French divisions. SHAEF 
made a supplementary loan of service 
units for the support of this additional 
combat strength, ordering the 1 2th 
Army Group to release about 1 2,000 
troops for this purpose with the assur- 
ance that they would be returned. 75 

Upon the completion of the Colmar 
operation in February 6th Army Group 
asked that it be permitted to retain cer- 
tain of the units, especially combat engi- 
neers, which had been attached when it 
had taken over a portion of the Third 
Army front in December. But SHAEF 
refused, and by the end of February the 
divisions temporarily attached to 6th 
Army Group, along with the accom- 
panying service and support troops, were 
returned northward. 76 

In the meantime ETOUSA completed 
the theater-wide reallocation which had 
been undertaken some months before 
at the urging of both army groups. By 
the end of February, therefore, a satis- 
factory redistribution was under way on 
the basis of a strength of twelve U.S. 

"Cbl S-74958, SHAEF to 6 A Gp, 14 Jan 45, 
SHAEF G-3 War Diary; 6 A Gp G-4 AAR for 
Jan 45, p. 5; Cbl S-77528, SHAEF to A Gps, 3 Feb 
45, ETO Cbls, ETO Adm. 

70 Cbl EX-24137, 6 A Gp to SHAEF, 10 Feb 45, 
and Cbl S-78852, SHAEF to 6 A Gp, 13 Feb 45, 
ETO Cbls, ETO Adm 407-08; 6 A Gp G-4 AAR 
for Feb 45, p. 9. 

divisions in the 6th Army Group and 
forty-five in the 12th. 

The service troop allocation was again 
under revision when hostilities came to 
an end. At the end of April the 6th 
Army Group had a combat zone slice 
of 30,500 as against a slice of 26,500 in 
the 12th Army Group. The over-all 
COMZ slice at that time came to 8,919 
on the Continent, and to 10,700 in 
the theater as a whole. 77 

Effecting an equitable distribution of 
service troops within the theater was dif- 
ficult at best. Varying local conditions 
and circumstances on the two principal 
lines of communication made it impos- 
sible to assign units purely on a mathe- 
matical basis, and the ratio of combat 
strength between the two army groups 
was constantly being upset. Both army 
groups, and particularly the 6th, were 
understandably impatient with the in- 
terminable delays in adjustments which 
were called for with the shifts in combat 
units, and argued for a procedure which 
would provide a more automatic shift 
in logistic support with the alterations 
in combat strength. The difficulties at- 
tested, moreover, to the fact that the 
southern forces had not been completely 
integrated into the European theater 
structure. In logistic matters SOLOC 
had long maintained ties with the Medi- 
terranean theater. In some respects com- 
plete integration with the European 
theater was never accomplished. 

" [Henderson] Procurement and Use of Man- 
power in the ETO, pp. 249, 252-55. 


The Manpower Problem, 
August 1 944-February 1945 

(r) Rumblings of a Replacement 

Of all the logistic problems that 
plagued ETOUSA in the fall of 1944 
the shortages of ammunition and re- 
placements undoubtedly caused the 
greatest anxiety. In their development 
and chronology the two problems were 
closely parallel. In both there was specu- 
lation as to possible shortages even be- 
fore D Day; in both a crisis developed 
in the fall of 1944, necessitating emer- 
gency measures and longer-range plans 
to ensure adequate support for the last 
months of the war. 

The theater s first difficulties with re- 
placements, in July, had resulted partly 
from the fact that losses in infantry, espe- 
cially infantry riflemen, had been con- 
siderably higher than forecast for the 
first two months of operations, and 
partly from the fact that the War De- 
partment had not shipped replacements 
in the various branches in the propor- 
tions agreed to before D Day. The the- 
ater did not actually lack replacements 
at the end of July. But its stockage at 
that time was completely out of balance 
as the result of the disproportionately 
heavy losses in infantry riflemen. Con- 

verting men of other branches to in- 
fantry obviously could not solve the 
immediate difficulty. The theater there- 
fore turned to the War Department for 
emergency shipments, at the same time 
asking that it increase the proportion of 
infantry riflemen in all future replace- 
ment training. 1 

The July experience served to focus 
attention on a larger manpower prob- 
lem. The Army had already exceeded its 
authorized strength of 7.7 million men, 
and a serious shortage was developing 
in the Army as a whole. This develop- 
ment had in fact been the subject of 
repeated warnings from the War De- 
partment beginning as early as Septem- 
ber 1943, when the Chief of Staff called 
attention to the manpower ceiling under 
which the Army thereafter had to oper- 
ate, and warned that there would have 
to be greater economy in the use of men. 
General Marshall at that time suggested 
that it might be advisable to establish 
an investigating agency on the model of 
the War Department Manpower Board, 
which was then conducting extensive in- 
vestigations of the entire Army estab- 

1 See Logistical Support J, 460-63. 



lishment in the zone of interior with 
a view to releasing unneeded personnel 
for more urgent assignments. Visitors 
from the War Department to overseas 
theaters, he said, reported the impres- 
sion that there was an unnecessary 
extravagance in the use of manpower 
in service installations, and he deemed 
it essential that there be a continuing 
review of the theater's needs relative 
to changing missions so that manpower 
could be transferred and utilized more 
efficiently, or recovered and transferred 
to more urgent tasks. 2 

In January 1944 Marshall had again 
called attention to the critical manpower 
situation developing in the United States, 
suggesting additional measures the the- 
ater could take to help solve the prob- 
lem. Marshall observed that the man- 
power shortage was being aggravated by 
the mishandling of two groups of men: 
physically imperfect men who could still 
render useful service were being dis- 
charged, and men physically qualified 
for general assignment were being used 
in limited assignment positions. The 
Army, he said, would simply have to 
make better use of the manpower it al- 
ready had. Basically, this meant con- 
serving and properly using the important 
resource which it possessed in limited 
assignment personnel. 3 

The necessity for action along these 
lines was again emphasized in February 
1944 as the result of a survey which CoL 
George R. Evans, chief of the Classifica- 
tion and Replacement Branch of The 

2 Cbl R-3412, Marshall to CG ETO, 23 Sep 43, 
ETO 381 Troop Basis 1943. 

3 Ltr, Marshall to Eisenhower, 6 Jan 44, ETO 
GFRC 300.5 Circulars, Hq Replacement System 

Adjutant General's Office, made of the 
entire replacement situation in the Eu- 
ropean theater. Evans urged the Commu- 
nications Zone to direct all its units and 
installations to survey their personnel 
with the aim of identifying individuals 
physically qualified for field duty (other 
than those occupying key or highly tech- 
nical positions) who could be replaced 
by men physically disqualified for full 
field service. The Communications Zone 
was to earmark such men for assignment 
to field force units as physically handi- 
capped individuals were made available 
for reassignment to the Communications 
Zone. 4 

In April 1944 at a G-i conference in 
Washington attended by representatives 
from both the European and North Afri- 
can theaters, 5 War Department officials 
tried to impress even more strongly upon 
the theaters the necessity for action along 
these lines. General McNarney, the Dep- 
uty Chief of Staff, rightly suspecting that 
the theaters still did not appreciate the 
seriousness of the manpower shortages, 
again made it clear that the Army had 
reached its authorized strength of 7.7 
million men and that the acquisition of 
new troops henceforth would be re- 
stricted to the numbers required to main- 
tain that strength. This meant that new 
demands for men not already provided 
for in the troop basis would have to be 
met by reduction elsewhere. The day 
had passed when personnel could be 
obtained for the asking. 

4 Memo, Evans for G-i ETOUSA, sub: Observa- 
tions and Recommendations, FFRS, ETOUSA, 31 
Jan 44, ETO GFRC Planning file. 

8 The ETOUSA representatives were Brig. Gen. 
Oscar B. Abbott, the G-i, Brig. Gen. Ralph B. 
Lovett, the adjutant general, and Maj. Gen. Paul 
R. Hawley, the chief surgeon. 



War Department officials were partic- 
ularly critical of the North African the- 
ater, which apparently had been extrava- 
gant in its use of manpower for rear area 
services and which had failed to take 
effective measures to transfer able-bodied 
men from the supply services and retain 
them for combat. They were determined 
that the experience in that theater should 
not be repeated in Europe, and insisted 
that the theater not only adopt the War 
Department's policies on the conserva- 
tion of manpower, but that it organize 
its replacement system along lines pre- 
scribed by the War Department so that 
those policies could be carried out effec- 
tively. Later in April NcNarney went 
to the United Kingdom and repeated 
these warnings at a theater command 
and staff conference. 6 

Despite these admonitions, plus strong 
criticism of General Lee for his opposi- 
tion to the War Department's recom- 
mendations, the theater did not take 
effective action. ETOUSA had already 
adopted the policy of retraining limited 
assignment men who were physically able 
to serve usefully in some other military 
capacity. But it shrank from taking the 
necessary measures to remove general 
assignment men from service units and 
retrain them, and it resisted pressure to 
establish the kind of agency which Gen- 
eral Marshall had originally recom- 
mended to scrutinize the use of man- 
power in the theater. 

ETOUSA found one reason after an- 

6 Remarks by McNarney and Transcript of G-i 
Conf on Repls and Pers Control, 3 Apr 44, and 
Ltr, Abbott to Lee, 15 Apr 44, sub: Rpt on Conf 
Held in Washington, D. C, both in SHAEF AG 
200.3-1 Replacements 1944; Notes on Comd and 
Stf Conf ETO, 18 Apr 44, EUCOM 337/3 Confer- 
ences, Staff Weekly 1944, I. 

other to postpone such distasteful work. 
General Devers, who was still theater 
commander in the fall of 1943, had 
originally opposed the idea on the 
ground that operational plans had not 
crystallized sufficiently to permit a thor- 
oughgoing survey of troop requirements. 7 
In June 1944 Maj. Gen. Ray W. Barker, 
the SHAEF G-i, offered a plan for 
a comprehensive survey of manpower 
problems, covering not only the matter 
of more effective utilization of limited 
assignment men, the release of general 
assignment personnel, and the use of 
prisoners of war and liberated man- 
power, but involving a thorough exam- 
ination of the theater's organization with 
a view to uncovering and eliminating 
duplication of function and responsibili- 
ties. As part of the plan he proposed 
the establishment of a theater manpower 
board which would operate directly un- 
der the theater commander with wide 
powers to investigate all the ramifica- 
tions of the manpower problem and 
make specific recommendations as to 
where savings should be carried out. 8 

The G-i's proposal appears to have 
been made in the true spirit of the War 
Department's directives, and was the first 
attempt to come to grips with the prob- 
lem realistically. General Bull, the G-3, 
concurred in the plan. But General 
Crawford, the G-4, expressed strong dis- 
approval of the idea, arguing that such 
a job was a command function, and that 
no "committee" could carry out such a 
survey which would not use up more 

7 Cbl W-5527, Devers to Marshall, 8 Oct 43, 
ETO 381 Troop Basis 1943. 

8 Memo, Barker for Smith, 28 Jun 44, sub: 
Theater Manpower Bd, SHAEF G-i 320/2 Man- 
power, Establishment, Equipping. 



manpower than it might save. 9 An 
amended proposal, which Barker sub- 
mitted in answer a few weeks later, also 
encountered objections from the G-4, 
and for the moment, at least, the matter 
was dropped. 10 

Personnel officers at General Lee's 
headquarters also opposed the creation 
of a manpower board, mainly on the 
ground of uncertainty as to the future 
COMZ organization on the Continent. 
Late in July they found additional sup- 
port for this argument as the result of 
the addition of eight divisions to the 
ETOUSA troop basis, which was ex- 
pected to involve the activation of addi- 
tional service units within the theater. 
In any case, the Communications Zone 
preferred to leave to the section com- 
manders the responsibility for combing 
out general assignment men and replac- 
ing them with limited assignment per- 
sonnel. 11 

It was a misreading of human nature, 
to say the least, to expect commanders to 
carry out measures which would obvi- 
ously be to their own disadvantage, and 
it was a policy which in the end proved 
totally inadequate, as might have been 

°Memo, Crawford for G— 1, 30 Jun 44 sub: The- 
ater Manpower Bd, SHAEF G-i 320/2 Manpower. 

10 Memo, Barker for G-3 and G-4, 11 Jul 44, 
sub: Conservation of Manpower, and Crawford's 
reply, 14 Jul 44, SHAEF G-i 320/2 Manpower. 

11 Memo, Franey for Lee, 13 Jul 44, ETO GFRC 
file on Replacements. The view that the screening 
out of able-bodied men should be left to the 
section commanders was also held by the Replace- 
ment Section of the Adjutant General's Office, 
ETO. Memo, AG Repl for G-i, 7 May 44, in 
reply to proposal by ETO G-i (29 April 1944, 
subject: Disposition of Limited Service Men), that 
a board be established to conduct continuous sur- 
veys of the SOS for this purpose, to be directly 
responsible to the deputy theater commander, 
EUCOM 322 Replacement Units, II (a). 

expected. For the time being, the Com- 
munications Zone preferred to postpone 
the difficult business of screening gen- 
eral assignment men out of the service 
forces, and confined itself to issuing gen- 
eral pronouncements that the "wastage 
or improper use of manpower will not 
be tolerated in this theater/' and tooth- 
less injunctions that men would be "as- 
signed to positions in which they can 
render the maximum service." Such 
directives, while outwardly conforming 
with the War Department's prodding on 
the subject, were hardly specific enough 
to be enforced, and were in fact easily 

The crisis of July provided the the- 
ater with a dramatic reminder of its man- 
power problem, and the War Depart- 
ment took the opportunity to express its 
impatience with the theater for what 
it regarded as poor planning as well as 
poor administration of manpower re- 
sources. The War Department's main 
criticism at that time focused on the suc- 
cession of revised requisitions which had 
followed the discovery of shortages in 
infantry. The War Department regarded 
this as evidence of poor planning, 12 and 
McNarney at the time expressed doubts 
as to the competence of Lee's G-i. 13 

The theater's actions were partially 
defensible, at least so far as the short- 
ages in July were concerned. Lee could 
point to two extenuating circumstances: 
the prolonged hedgerow fighting had 
taken a toll of infantrymen which the 
field commands had not foreseen; and 
shipments from the zone of interior had 

12 See Logistical Support I, 461-63. 

13 Ltr, McNarney to Lee, 9 Aug 44, CofS 322 Sec. 
I, Cases 1-30, 



been unbalanced as to type, even by ac- 
cepted War Department planning fac- 
tors—the infantry shipments of May, 
June, and July containing only 35, 58, 
and 50 percent respectively of riflemen 
as against a previously accepted factor of 
64.3. Lee maintained, in addition, that 
the troop build-up had been more rapid 
than planned, although this was a tenu- 
ous argument insofar as the months of 
June and July were concerned. 14 

McNarney admitted that the Euro- 
pean theater had been shortchanged on 
infantry riflemen, and explained the un- 
balanced make-up of the May-July ship- 
ments by the necessity to meet the North 
African theater's expected requirements 
for the southern France operation, and 
by the fact that the War Department had 
been forced by popular demand to place 
certain restrictions on the age at which 
combat replacements would be shipped 
to overseas theaters. 13 

Washington's concern over the unre- 
liability of the European theater's esti- 
mates of future requirements was under- 
standable. It was on the basis of these 
that the output of the training centers 
had to be planned, normally five to six 
months in advance of actual need. Again 
and again, according to McNarney, the 
theater's forecasts of needs had proved 
inaccurate, with the result that the War 
Department was forced to resort to pain- 
ful improvisation in order to meet the 
theater's needs. There was, of course, no 

14 Ltrs, Lee to McNarney, 25 Aug and 23 Sep 44, 
CofS 322 Sec. I. Cases 1-30. 

"Ltr, McNarney to Lee, 29 Sep 44, CofS 322 
Sec. I, Cases 1-30. See Robert R. Palmer, Bell I. 
Wiley, and William R. Keast, The Procurement 
and Training of Ground Combat Troops, UNITED 
1948), pp. 205-09. 

foolproof formula for estimating replace- 
ments needs. The Deputy Chief of Staff 
acknowledged this, asking only that the 
theater adjust the estimates of its needs 
as promptly as possible to actual experi- 
ence. 10 

Behind the frustration over the un- 
reliability of planning estimates lay the 
suspicion that the theater was not making 
the best use of its men. The War De- 
partment therefore continued to prod 
ETOUSA on the subject of using its 
available manpower to better advantage. 
Late in August it notified all theaters 
that it would be able to meet replace- 
ment requirements as currently esti- 
mated through December 1944, since 
replacements scheduled for shipment in 
that period were already in training. But 
it gave unequivocal warning that begin- 
ning in January 1945 it would be able 
to provide only a portion of the theater's 
estimated needs. It reminded the the- 
aters, moreover, that War Department 
policy required that they provide a train- 
ing and assignment system for men no 
longer physically capable of performing 
their previous duty assignments, for men 
physically capable of performing combat 
duty who were withdrawn from COMZ 
units, and for the conversion of surpluses 
in particular arms and services. 17 

Basically, the theater's problem boiled 
down to one of finding enough physi- 
cally qualified men to meet its combat 
losses, and it had three possible sources 
which it could exploit to meet this need: 
(1) overages in types other than infantry 
which it might retrain; (2) theater over- 
strength; and (3) general assignment men 

lfl Ltr, McNarney to Lee, 10 Oct 44, CofS 322. 
17 Ltr, WD to Theaters, 23 Aug 44, sub: Overseas 
Rep Is, SHAEF G-3 370.092 Reinforcements 1944. 



in the supply services of the Communi- 
cations Zone and Air Forces who could 
be withdrawn for conversion to a com- 
bat arm and replaced by men no longer 
physically qualified for such assignment. 

The theater had already had some ex- 
perience in the retraining of men, albeit 
a very limited one. In April 1944 agree- 
ment had been reached with the War 
Department to raise the proportion of 
infantry in the replacement pool from 
64.3 percent to 70.3. Since it was already 
too late at that time to make adjustments 
in the May shipments, the theater took 
steps to retrain as infantrymen approxi- 
mately 2,500 men, representing overages 
in other branches and replacements be- 
ing improperly used, in an effort to 
establish what it regarded as a safe level 
of infantry replacements by D Day. 18 

Meanwhile the theater had also laid 
down the first outline of a policy on the 
utilization of limited assignment men. 
Shortly before the invasion, on the sug- 
gestion of the theater G-i, arrangements 
were made to establish machinery with- 
in the replacement system to receive, 
classify, and redistribute all personnel 
returning from hospitals and rehabili- 
tation centers, to retrain limited assign- 
ment men, and to distribute to appro- 
priate branch replacement depots all 
recovered general assignment men who 
were to be retrained for combat assign- 
ments. The theater commander approved 
setting aside certain facilities at the 
American School Center at Shrivenham, 
England, to be used by the replacement 

18 History of the Ground Force Replacement Sys- 
tem, ETO, Pt. I: The Replacement System From 
the Date of Activation to D Day, prep by the 
GRFC, ETO Adm, Ch. Ill, Sec. Ill, pp. 10-11, 
ETO Adm 334. 

system for these purposes. It was realized 
from the start, however, that the num- 
ber of men who would become available 
for limited duty by return from hospitals 
would far exceed the Communications 
Zone's normal losses, and that limited 
assignment personnel could be absorbed 
only through the release of able-bodied 
men for combat. Exactly how this was 
to be accomplished was a matter of con- 
siderable disagreement. 19 

Policy on limited assignment men was 
further clarified and developed during 
the first months on the Continent. The 
armies agreed, for example, to absorb 
limited assignment men up to 5 percent 
of their strength, some of whom would 
of course have to be retrained for new 
duties. Limited assignment troops from 
the Communications Zone were to re- 
turn from hospitals and rehabilitation 
centers directly to their former units 
without requisition and be carried as 
temporary overstrength until absorbed 
by normal attrition. Limited assignment 
men from the combat zone were to be 
retrained for new assignments and ab- 
sorbed by the Communications Zone. 20 

Everyone thus apparently appreciated 
the necessity to utilize limited assign- 
ment personnel. But no truly effective 
measures were as yet being taken to with- 
draw general assignment men from the 
Communications Zone to make room for 

19 Memo, G-i for AG Repls, 29 Apr 44, sub: 
Disposition of Limited Sv Men; AG Repl reply, 
7 May 44, EUCOM 322 Replacement Units, II (a); 
Memo, G-i for G-3 ETO, 23 May 44, sub: Reas- 
signment Center, Replacement System, Ltr, Hq 
ETO to SAC, 1 Jun 44, sub: Facilities at American 
School Center for Repl System and 1st Ind from 
SHAEF, 9 Jun 44, all in EUCOM 322 Replace- 
ments, II (b). 

30 Memo, Lee for Lord, 9 Jul 44, sub: Man- 
power Board, GFRC File on Replacements. 



them. This was the crux of the entire 
manpower problem, for the Communi- 
cations Zone and the air forces consti- 
tuted the largest sources of able-bodied 
men in the theater. 

Up to the beginning of July there ap- 
parently was no serious concern within 
the theater over a possible replacement 
shortage in the near future. In fact, the 
theater actually reduced its September 
replacement requisition by 15,000 men 
at that time, and also canceled its requi- 
sition for August in all branches except 
infantry. Its efforts to recover personnel 
for use as replacements was limited to 
initiating a survey of the Communica- 
tions Zone to determine whether any ex- 
cess of personnel existed, and to issuing 
a directive to section commanders to 
release such overstrength or excesses. 21 
Section commanders were understand- 
ably reluctant to release men at this 
time in view of the uncertainty as to re- 
quirements in connection with the or- 
ganization of the Communications Zone 
on the Continent. Consequently the re- 
lease of men to the Replacement System 
both in number (about 4,800) and qual- 
ity was disappointing. Brig. Gen. Walter 
G. Layman, chief of the Replacement 
System, complained that many of the 
men were not fit for training as riflemen. 
Section commanders obviously were not 
releasing their best men for conversion. 22 

The July crisis suddenly made the 
replacement situation a matter of much 

"Memo, Franey for Lee, 13 Jul 44, GRFC File 
on Replacements. 

^Ltr, GFRS to Deputy Theater Comdr, 17 Jul 
44, sub: Shortage of Inf Repls, as cited in [Capt. 
Robert J. Greenwald] Human Logistics, a study 
of the reinforcement system, prep in Hist Sec ETO, 
Jan 45, p. 82. 

greater urgency. The theater not only 
made frantic appeals to the War Depart- 
ment for emergency shipments and for 
a much higher percentage of infantry- 
trained replacements, but also took addi- 
tional steps to produce replacements 
from its own resources. Since the the- 
ater's need was urgent, the quickest divi- 
dends obviously promised to come from 
the conversion of men from combat arms 
other than infantry, of which there was 
an excess of more than 20,000, rather 
than from service personnel. The first 
step, therefore, was to take approxi- 
mately 4,000 replacements representing 
overages in the branches of field artillery, 
tank destroyer, and antiaircraft and con- 
vert them as quickly as possible to 
infantry. 23 

Shortly thereafter in accordance with 
earlier War Department directives to 
reduce the number of basic privates in 
T/O units, the theater ordered that men 
so released, regardless of arm or service, 
also be made available for retraining as 
infantry rifle replacements. Up to that 
time the services and major combat com- 
mands had been allowed to activate new 
units utilizing the personnel made avail- 
able through such reductions, 24 In addi- 
tion, the theater notified the Replace- 
ment System 25 that men originally 

"History of GFRS, Part II: D Day to V-E Day, 
Ch. IV, pp. 1-2. 

24 Memo, Hq ETO to Chiefs of Gen and Special 
Stf Sees, 4 Sep 44, sub: Use of Repls for Local 
Activations of Units and Installations, EUCOM 
322 Replacements Units, II (a). 

25 For convenience, the term Replacement System 
is used throughout in reference to the command 
variously designated as the Field Force Replacement 
System, the Ground Force Replacement System, 
the Replacement System, and the Ground Force 
Reinforcement Command, 



trained as infantry replacements in cate- 
gories other than rifleman would be 
made available in certain numbers for 
retraining as riflemen by the Replace- 
ment System. 26 

These various measures bore their first 
fruit in August, when the Replacement 
System retrained about 5,500 men as 
infantry riflemen. In September 4,500 
men completed conversion training. 
Most of the retraining up to this time 
was done in the United Kingdom, al- 
though some retraining had started at 
Le Mans. About 3,300 limited assign- 
ment men were being trained in new 
skills at Shrivenham, where the entire 
facilities of the American School Center 
were now being used for that purpose. 27 

These efforts undoubtedly represented 
progress in the desired direction, but 
they constituted only a beginning toward 
meeting the theater's needs for infantry- 
men, toward training and absorbing the 
mounting numbers of limited assign- 
ment personnel, toward reducing the ex- 
cessive stocks in certain branches, and 
toward reducing the theater's over- 
strength. At the end of September the 
theater still reported overages in every 
category except infantry riflemen, the 
excesses in the combat arms alone total- 

2fl Ltr, CG COMZ to CG GFRS, 27 Jul 44, sub: 
Retraining of Basic Privates, History of GFRS, 
Ch. V, p. 37; Ltr, Hq ETO to CG GFRS, 11 Aug 
44, sub: Retraining of Pers as Inf Rep Is SSN 745, 
ETO GFRC 353 Training 1945. 

2T Memo, CG GFRS for G-i ETO, 1 Oct 44, ETO 
GFRC 370.092 Reinforcements, Oct 44 to Jun 45; 
[Henderson] The Procurement and Use of Man- 
power in the ETO, Pt. IX of the Administrative 
and Logistical History of the ETO, p. 140; Ltr, 
GFRS to Comdt American School Center, 23 Aug 
44, sub: Training of Limited Assignment Pers, 
ETO GFRC 001.1 Schedules and Memos GFRC 
1Q 45- 

ing nearly 34,000. The shortage in rifle- 
men totaled 7,000, although the replace- 
ment pool as a whole held 119,000 men 
and was substantially above its author- 
ized strength. 28 

The theater's overstrength, not only in 
replacements but in its T/O units and 
overhead, made ETOUSA especially vul- 
nerable to criticism by the War Depart- 
ment. Washington had called attention 
to the theater's excessive overstrength 
before, claiming that it exceeded 130,000 
men at the end of July. More than half 
of it consisted of overages in replace- 
ments, resulting mainly from the fact 
that losses in many categories had been 
lower than estimated. Overstrengths in 
overheads and T/O units could be at- 
tributed to several things, among them 
the fact that all infantry basics had not 
been withdrawn from ground and service 
troops, that some units had not reorgan- 
ized under the latest T/O's and that ac- 
celerated needs for continental installa- 
tions had caused overheads to be 
exceeded at least until the U.K. installa- 
tions could be closed out. 

The War Department had been will- 
ing to overlook some overstrength, but 
by September it concluded that the the- 
ater was not doing enough to eliminate 
it despite categoric instructions to do 
so. It feared that large overstrengths were 
becoming a permanent feature of the 
manpower picture in all the theaters. 
The War Department was particularly 
disturbed over the possibility of a per- 
manent accumulation of excess replace- 
ments in some categories, which it re- 

38 Memo, CG GFRS for G-i, 1 Oct 44, ETO GFRC 
370.092 Reinforcements. 



garded as the worst type of wastage. 29 
Late in September General McNarney 
sent the Army Inspector General, Maj. 
Gen. Virgil L. Peterson, to the theater to 
survey the manpower situation person- 
ally. General Peterson reported that the 
theater s replacement pool had a strength 
of about 119,000, nearly 49,000 men in 
excess of the 70,000 authorized. An addi- 
tional 20,000 men who formerly had 
been replacements had been assigned as 
overstrength to various units, including 
10,500 with truck companies, 6,700 in 
airborne divisions, and 2,250 with the en- 
gineer special brigades, which continued 
to operate the Normandy beaches. 30 

As was so typical wherever statistics 
were involved, War Department figures 
were widely at variance with those of the 
theater. Its total overstrength, the the- 
ater claimed, actually stood at 68,000 
on 30 September, as compared with the 
War Department's figure of 131,000 for 
31 July. General Eisenhower admitted 
that the difference did not result from 
any reduction in strength over the two- 
month period, but rather from "lack of 
a common basis of calculation/' Once 
again, as demonstrated in the case of 
ammunition, it was clear that the the- 
ater and the War Department were not 
following uniform accounting practices. 
In the matter of replacements, moreover, 
the theater had been operating on the 
basis of an allowed replacement pool of 

20 Remarks by McNarney at Gen Council Mtg, 
Office of the DCofS, 4 Sep 44, and Ltr, McNarney 
to Eisenhower, 5 Sep 44, both in SHAEF G-4 
320.2 Strength 1944, I; Memo, OPD DCofS, 8 Sep 
44, sub: Strength of ETO, and Memo, Gen Henry, 
G-i, for CofS, 9 Sep 44, sub: Reduction of Army 
Overstrength, both in OPD 320.2 Sec. XX, Cases 

30 Memo, Peterson for DCofS, 5 Oct 44, WD 
CofS 322 Sec. II, Cases 1-30. 

170,000, which, it insisted, had been au- 
thorized before D Day, in contrast with 
the War Department's figure of 70,000. 

The theater actually reported a re- 
placement strength of nearly 200,000 
men, although this included replace- 
ments on requisition for October and 
November, men in transit, and replace- 
ments for the air force. On the basis of 
an authorized ceiling of 170,000 it ad- 
mitted to an overstrength of slightly 
less than 30,000 as compared with the 
War Department's claim of 49,000, or 
even Gg,ooo counting the former replace- 
ments now listed as overstrength in vari- 
ous units. In any case, the theater felt 
that the War Department should take 
cognizance of the fact that a large portion 
of its personnel classed as replacements 
at any given time consisted of "dead 
stock" in that it was not actually avail- 
able for use as replacements. Included 
in this category were air force troops, 
referred to as "happy warriors," who 
were either awaiting shipment to the 
zone of interior or were en route to or 
from the United States; men being re- 
trained; and men earmarked for activa- 
tion of new units. At the end of Septem- 
ber, according to theater figures, men 
in these categories accounted for 52,000 
of the 125,000 ground force replacements 
physically present in the theater. Only 
about 73,000 men were actually avail- 
able for replacement purposes. Because 
of this, General Eisenhower asked for 
a "certain tolerance" between the au- 
thorized ceiling and actual stockages. 31 
But the War Department was not con- 
vinced that the theater was making the 
best use of its manpower resources. That 

31 Ltr, Eisenhower to Handy, 17 Nov 44, SHAEF 
G-3 O&E 320.2 Theater Overstrength, I. 



the "word" on manpower conservation 
had not reached everyone concerned, or 
at best was not thoroughly understood in 
the theater, was indicated by the fact 
that commanders continued to request 
authorization to activate new units using 
manpower available to them in the form 
of overstrengths despite the theater's 
measures designed to recapture such 
men. Early in September the theater 
again expressly forbade the use of per- 
sonnel for such purposes, and empha- 
sized that all troops in the theater in 
excess of T/O's were to be considered 
as replacements regardless of whether 
they were in the Replacement System, 
attached to units and installations, or 
assigned as overstrengths. It again pro- 
hibited the use of such personnel for 
any purposes other than as loss replace- 
ments, and served notice that it would 
not approve requests for local activations 
involving use of such men. 32 General 
Peterson particularly questioned the the- 
ater's authority to legitimize the over- 
strengthening of units with replace- 
ments, as it had done in the case of 
truck drivers, and its taking advantage 
of deletions from its troop basis to acti- 
vate other units from manpower avail- 
able to it within the theater, as it was 
trying to do in the case of the forty-nine 
antiaircraft battalions. 33 

With the report of such practices in 
mind, General McNarney in mid-Octo- 
ber again pressed the theater to retrain 
as infantry all surplus replacements in 
other branches and to force general as- 

32 Memo, Hq ETO to Gen and Special Stf Sees, 
4 Sep 44 sub: Use of Repls for Local Activations 
of Units and Installations, EUCOM 322 Replace- 
ment Units, II (a). 

33 See Ch. X, Sec. 2, above, on the matter of the 
antiaircraft artillery units. 

signment troops out of jobs that could 
be performed equally well by men no 
longer physically qualified for combat. 
Anticipating the opposition which the 
latter would undoubtedly evoke, he told 
top commanders that they would simply 
have to break down the natural resist- 
ance of subordinates to the withdrawal 
of personnel. 34 

During October the theater continued 
to direct its efforts toward rebuilding its 
depleted infantry pool and toward cor- 
recting the maldistribution produced by 
the casualty experience of June and July. 
Early in the month it learned from the 
War Department that shipments from 
the United States would total less than 
19,000 in November, representing a re- 
duction of about 10,000 in ETOUSA' s 
requisition for that month. This allot- 
ment was to include a high percentage 
of infantry, however— 15,000 in regular 
infantry plus 1,400 infantry paratroops 
and 400 nisei infantrymen for the 442d 
Infantry Regiment. The War Depart- 
ment justified the reduction on the as- 
sumption that ETOUSA would as pre- 
viously planned fall heir to about 10,000 
replacements which the Seventh Army 
was to turn over when ETOUSA as- 
sumed responsibility for the logistic sup- 
port of forces in southern France on 1 
November. 35 

ETOUSA first concluded that the re- 
duction would not necessarily be critical, 
although it would lower the infantry 
pool level which the theater considered 
essential. Much depended on whether 

M Ltr, McNarney to Lee,. 10 Oct 44, ETO GFRC 
370.092 Reinforcements. 

M Cbl WARX-41410, AGWAR to ETO, 5 Oct 44, 
SHAEF G-3 370.092 Reinforcements 1944, I. 


NATOUSA made available sufficient re- 
placements for the support of Seventh 

Army. 3fi 

It became evident in the next few days, 
however, that Seventh Army was already 
having manpower difficulties, to say noth- 
ing of bringing with it a dowry of io,ooo 
men. A critical manpower situation had 
developed in the Fifth Army in Italy as 
the result of recent heavy casualties and 
the War Department's refusal of a large 
part of its requisition for October and 
November, and NATOUSA warned 
General Devers on 7 October that it 
might not be able to provide replace- 
ment support for the Seventh Army 
through October. 37 In fact, a few days 
later General Clark asked Devers, 
who was still serving as deputy com- 
mander of NATOUSA, that shipments 
of NATOUSA replacements set up for 
Seventh Army be diverted to Fifth Army 
and, if it was already too late to stop 
their shipment, that ETOUSA be asked 
to ship 3,000 men by the fastest means 
available. 38 Devers replied that Seventh 
Army faced an equally serious shortage. 
He relayed Clark's appeal to ETOUSA, 
however, and offered to release all sched- 
uled support for the southern France 
forces from NATOUSA, except for men 
returned from hospitals, if ETOUSA 
could assume responsibility for the sup- 
port of Seventh Army about two weeks 

earlier than scheduled— that is, on 15 
October instead of 1 November. 39 

The shipment of officer replacements 
from NATOUSA had already ceased, 
and Devers at this time asked ETOUSA 
for 400 infantry officer replacements, 
which ETOUSA agreed to furnish. 40 
When ETOUSA learned of the situation 
in the North African theater, it informed 
the War Department that the situation 
in Seventh Army definitely made it es- 
sential that the entire requisition for 
November be met. In fact, it warned 
that it might have to request an in- 
crease. 41 

ETOUSA appeared resigned to as- 
suming responsibility for the support 
of Seventh Army earlier than planned, 
and now also went to the aid of its neigh- 
bor in the Mediterranean. Convinced by 
both Clark and General Alexander that 
the operations of the Fifth Army had a 
direct bearing on the forces likely 
to be committed on the western front, 
ETOUSA indicated its willingness to 
meet NATOUSA's request for 3,000 
men, if the War Department would make 
good the loss in its November ship- 
ments. 42 Lt. Gen. Thomas T. Handy 
first insisted that there was no need for 
such a transfer, arguing that the War 
Department was meeting NATOUSA's 
needs and had already shipped about 

36 Cbl EX-53721, COMZ to AGWAR, n Oct 44, 
SHAEF G— 3 370.092 Reinforcements 1944, I; Memo, 
ETO G-i to GFRS, 13 Oct 44, History of GFRS, 
Ch. VI, pp. 279-80; Brig Gen Henry J. Matchett, 
CG GFRS, for G-i COMZ, 8 Oct 44, ETO GFRC 
370.5 Troop Movement File B 1944-45. 

37 Cbl 35544, White of NATO to Devers, 7 Oct 
44, 6 A Gp 322.96-1. 

38 Cbl, Clark to Devers, 9 Oct 44, 6 A Gp 322,96-1, 

39 Cbl BX-17480, Devers to Clark, 10 Oct 44, and 
Cbl B-17491, Devers to Eisenhower, 10 Oct 44, 6 
A Gp 322.96-1. 

40 Cbl, 6 A Gp to ETO, 10 Oct 44, and CBL EX- 
54104, ETO to 6 A Gp, 13 Oct 44, 6 Gp 322.96-1. 

41 Cbl EX-54575, COMZ to AGWAR, 15 Oct 44, 
SHAEF G-3 370.092 Reinforcements 1944, I. 

"Cbl S-62499, SHAEF to AGWAR, 16 Oct 44, 
and Cbl S-62508, Smith to Alexander and Clark, 
16 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 200.3-1 Replacements 1944. 



2,soo. 43 The Fifth Army's need was ur- 
gent, however, and it appeared that ship- 
ments coming from the United States 
would not reach Italy before the end of 
the month. 44 On ig October General 
Smith conferred with the G-i's of both 
NATOUSA (General White) and 6th 
Army Group (Brig. Gen. Ben M. Saw- 
bridge), and decided that ETOUSA 
should and could help the Fifth Army 
through the critical period. He recom- 
mended to the War Department that 
ETOUSA be allowed to go ahead with 
the shipment. 45 Handy then gave his 
approval to the proposal, and within the 
next few days approximately 3,000 re- 
placements were air transported to Italy. 
Handy notified ETOUSA that the War 
Department was adding 5,000 infantry 
replacements to its November requisi- 
tion, which would more than compen- 
sate for the proposed diversion and 
would also compensate in part for the 
fact that ETOUSA was assuming respon- 
sibility for the support of Seventh Army 
earlier than planned. At the same time 
he warned that the War Department 
would be hard pressed to meet antici- 
pated December requests, and again en- 
joined the theater to practice the utmost 
economy and to accelerate its retraining 
program. 46 

By the end of October the theater's 
replacement situation appeared appreci- 
ably brighter, thanks in part to the meas- 
ures which the theater had taken to re- 
train men as riflemen, but also to the 
somewhat larger shipments from the 
zone of interior and to the substantially 
smaller losses of infantrymen which at- 
tended the highly mobile warfare of 
August and September and the lull in 
operations in October. 

As requested by the theater, riflemen 
comprised a higher percentage of the 
total infantry replacements in the next 
few months, the percentage rising to 68 
in August and over 80 in September. 47 
Meanwhile, battle casualties, after total- 
ing 51,400 in July, dropped to 42,500 in 
August, to 42,000 in September, and to 
3 1 ,600 in October, despite the increasing 
size of the forces committed. 48 Opera- 
tions during the pursuit brought a heavy 
demand for armored force replacements, 
particularly tank commanders, and for 
vehicle drivers rather than infantrymen. 49 

Throughout August and September 
the branch distribution of replacements 
in the theater's pool had continued to be 
badly out of balance, and there were 
substantial surpluses in branches other 
than infantry. In mid-August, for exam- 
ple, of a total stockage of 67,000 replace- 

43 Cbl WAR-47563, Handy to Eisenhower, 16 Oct 
44, OPD Cbl Files. 

"Cbl MA-1732, Alexander to SHAEF, 17 Oct 44, 
SHAEF Out Cable Log, Smith Papers. 

46 Cbl S-63030, Smith to Handy, 19 Oct 44, 6 A 
Gp 322, 96-1. 

44 Cbl WX-49381, Handy to SHAEF, 20 Oct 44, 
SHAEF AG 200.3-1 Replacements 1944; Cbl WX- 
49282, AGWAR to SHAEF, 20 Oct 44, SHAEF 
G-3 370.092 Reinforcements 1944, I; History of 
GFRS, Ch. VI, 283. 

47 Replacement Study, August 1944-April 1945, 
prep by G-i ETO, Set 45, EUCOM 322 Replace- 
ment Studies 1944-45. 

48 Non battle casualties totaled 17,000 in August, 
21,000 in September, and 28400 in October. Army 
Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths in World 
War II, Final Report prep by Statistics and Ac* 
counting Br AG, Dept of Army, OCMH, p. 32; 
[Henderson] Procurement and Use of Manpower in 
the ETO, p. 45. 

49 Aide Memoire, unsigned, 11 Aug 44, sub: Repl 
Situation, Incl to Memo, LST for Franey, 18 Aug 
44, ETO GREC File on Replacements. 



ments available to the theater, only 20,- 
000 (30 percent) were infantry-trained, 
and of these only 3,250 were riflemen. At 
the time about 9,000 infantrymen were 
in the process of conversion to riflemen. 50 

In October the Replacement System 
continued its efforts to correct this mal- 
distribution. The theater's aim was to 
establish and maintain at all times a 
pool of 70,000 replacements. On the basis 
of the casualty experience up to Septem- 
ber it had decided that 78.3 percent 
(54,800) of this pool should consist of 
infantrymen, as compared with the ear- 
lier 64.3, and that 70 percent of the in- 
fantrymen (or about 38,000 men) should 
be rifle-trained. On 1 September the 
branch distribution was badly out of 
balance, although some progress was 
made in rebuilding the pool of rifle- 
trained replacements. On that date the 
theater's stockage of infantrymen had 
risen to about 42,000 as against its an- 
nounced requirement of 55,000. Of these 
only about 15,000 had the much needed 
MOS 745 classification, the occupational 
specialty number of a rifleman. 51 

The retraining of an additional 14,- 
400 men in September and October, 
combined with the smaller losses of those 
months, did much to bring the branch 
distribution of the theater's pool into 
better balance. By 1 November the the- 
ater had built up its stockage of infan- 
try riflemen to 30,000. Despite the fact 
that this did not represent the an- 

w Memo, Statistics Br SGS ETO, 14 Aug 44, 
ETO Adm 235 Ordnance Ammo. 

81 Memo, G-i COMZ for CG COMZ, n.d. [Sep], 
sub: Repls, USFET 322 Replacements; Replace- 
ment Study, August 1944-April 1945, prep by G-i 
ETO, n.d., EUCOM 322 Replacement Studies 1944- 

nounced target, and despite War De- 
partment injunctions and warnings, the 
theater authorized a substantial cutback 
in the retraining program for Novem- 
ber. 52 

The balance that had been reached 
was actually a very precarious one. It 
had been achieved largely by the retrain- 
ing of other replacements— that is, sur- 
pluses in infantry other than riflemen 
and in other combat branches. The the- 
ater had as yet made no real effort to 
tap its principal remaining source of 
general assignment men— that is, the air 
force and the Communications Zone. 
Viewed in the light of the measures which 
eventually had to be taken, those of the 
summer of 1944 hardly constituted more 
than stopgap measures and failed to go 
to the heart of the manpower problem. 

(2) The Storm Breaks, November- 
December 1944 

If there was any complacency over the 
manpower situation at the end of Octo- 
ber it vanished quickly in the next few 
weeks. The launching of major Allied 
offensives in November under condi- 
tions of cold, wet weather had a dual 
impact on casualty figures: battle casual- 
ties, which had come to only 31,600 in 
the preceding month of relative inactiv- 
ity, rose to 62,400 in November; mean- 
while, nonbattle casualties, which had 
totaled 28,400 in October, suddenly re- 
flected a high incidence of trench foot 
and rose to 56,300. Total casualties for 
the month thus exceeded 118,000 men. 
{Table 10) 

Before this trend had become evident 
the theater had received discouraging 

M Stf and Comd Conf, COMZ, 5 Jan 45, EUCOM 
337/3 Conferences, Staff Weekly 1944, I. 



Table io — Battle and Nonbattle 
Casualties. Tune iqj.j.-May iqj.c 

Year and month 





































February . 








April. ___ 




May (1-8) 




° No data. 

Source: For battle casualties, Army Battle Casualties and Non- 
battle Deaths in World War II, Final Report, p. 32; for nonbattle, 
[Henderson] The Procurement and Use of Manpower in the ETO, 
P. 45. 

and at the same time conflicting infor- 
mation regarding the future availability 
of replacements from the United States. 
Early in November the War Department 
gave ETOUSA a long-range forecast in- 
dicating that shipments in December 
would total 43,350, of which 35,000 
would consist of infantrymen, and that 
shipments in the four succeeding months 
would average 44,650, of which 36,000 
would be in the infantry branch. It cau- 
tioned, however, that these figures rep- 
resented the maximum capability, that 
unforeseen requirements in other the- 
aters might force downward revisions, 
and that theater plans should be suffi- 
ciently flexible to meet such an eventual- 
ity. It again urged, therefore, that 
ETOUSA make the maximum contribu- 
tion to its own replacement capabilities 

by a vigorous retraining program. 53 

Theater replacement officials, com- 
paring the War Department's forecast 
with the theater's requisitions, noted 
that ETOUSA might suffer a cumulative 
shortage of more than 53,000 infantry- 
men by the end of February. The theater 
at the time possessed a pool of approxi- 
mately 61,000 infantrymen, of which 
about 38,000 were riflemen. That pool, 
it calculated, might easily be eliminated 
by the end of December if casualties 
were higher than then estimated, which 
indeed they were. 

Surveying the potentialities within the 
theater, the G-i of the Replacement Sys- 
tem, Col. Walter C. Cole, concluded that 
there were three sources from which the 
estimated requirements for infantry rifle- 
men might be met. These were: (1) gen- 
eral assignment men received from the 
Communications Zone in exchange for 
limited assignment men; (2) casuals and 
replacements other than infantry still 
available in the Replacement System in 
excess of actual needs; and (3) infantry- 
men in the three line-of-communications 
regiments. The theater had already taken 
steps to recover some of the infantry- 
trained general assignment men in its 
three line-of-communications regiments, 
having recently ordered 60 percent of 
their strength released to the Replace- 
ment System and replaced by limited 
assignment men. 54 

"Ltr, WD to ETO, 8 Nov 44, sub: Overseas 
Repls, WD AG 320.2 (2 Mar 43) (36) Sec. iA 
Overseas Replacement System— Estimates, 

"The three regiments were the 29th, 118th, and 
156th. Ltr, Hq ETO to Hq Comdt SHAEF, 29 Oct 
44, sub: Inf Enlisted Repls, SHAEF AG 200.3-1 
Replacements 1944; and Memo, Lt Col H. A. 
Twitchell for Bull, 25 Nov 44, sub: Repls, SHAEF 
G-3 370.092 Reinforcements 1944, I. 



The prospect of men in any of these 
categories becoming available in the im- 
mediate future was poor. The conver- 
sion of general assignment men with- 
drawn from service units was obviously 
the most remote. The quickest return 
could be realized through the with- 
drawal of the infantrymen from the three 
line-of-communications regiments, which 
was expected to yield about 5,000 men. 
Even these required a three-week re- 
fresher course and would not be avail- 
able until December. The Replacement 
System recommended, in addition, that 
an initial increment of 4,000 men from 
the armored force, field artillery, chemi- 
cal warfare, coast artillery, and ordnance 
branches be converted to riflemen. In 
order to select 4,000 men and still en- 
sure a sufficient stockage to meet the 
theater's pool requirements, the Replace- 
ment System now proposed that all coast 
artillery, field artillery, ordnance, and 
quartermaster casuals be declared free 
replacements if no requisitions for them 
were received after their arrival in their 
appropriate assignment depots. Until 
this time the Replacement System had 
followed the policy of holding casuals 
so that they could be returned to their 
former units. This had often tied up 
sizable numbers of men when requisi- 
tions did not arrive from their former 
units. 55 

The theater G-i, Colonel Franey, ap- 
proved these recommendations imme- 
diately, and in fact urged the Replace- 
ment System to increase the retraining 

"Memo, Cole for CG GFRS, 19 Nov 44, sub: 
Study, and Memo, Gillespie, GofS GFRS, for CG 
ETO, 19 Nov 44, sub: Requirements for Inf 
Riflemen, both in GFRC 370.092 Reinforcements 
May 44 to Apr 45. 

program to a minimum of 20,000 within 
the next three weeks, even at the risk of 
a later inability to meet a portion of the 
requirements in branches other than 
infantry and armor. He also suggested 
that more prompt relief could be pro- 
vided by the retraining of an appropriate 
number of infantry specialists, for re- 
ports had indicated that the ratio of 
infantry riflemen to infantrymen was 
still badly out of balance. It was esti- 
mated that in the latter category there 
still was a surplus of more than % 2, 000. 56 

Meanwhile the theater had received 
a disturbing communication from the 
War Department containing vague ref- 
erences to the possibility of canceling 
the remainder of requisitions not yet 
shipped. 57 By the theater's interpreta- 
tion, it involved a reduction of nearly 
36,000 infantry replacements previously 
scheduled for November and December 
arrival. Such a cut, it asserted, would al- 
most certainly jeopardize the success of 
operations. 58 Moreover, the War Depart- 
ment had stated that the theater hence- 
forth would have no choice as to the 
number of replacements in each branch, 
but would have to accept the War De- 
partment's distribution with regard to 
classification by arm or service. 

On the matter of cancellations, as it 
turned out, there had been a misunder- 
standing, and the War Department 
quickly assured ETO US A that it was 
not canceling any previously approved 

06 Memo, Franey for GFRS, 22 Nov 44, GFRC 
370.092 Reinforcements. 

"Cbl EX-64610, AGWAR to COMZ, 17 Nov 44, 
SHAEF G-3 370.092 Reinforcements 1944, I. 

M Cbl E-66027, COMZ to AGWAR, 23 Nov 44, 
and Memo, Barker for Bull, 22 Nov 44, sub: Repls, 
both in SHAEF G-3 370.092 Reinforcements 
1944, I. 



requisition. 59 On the matter of branch 
distribution, however, the War Depart- 
ment stood firm, at least for the moment. 
Theater officials had noted that only 49.2 
percent of all infantrymen shipped from 
the zone of interior consisted of riflemen 
as against requests that 56.5 percent be 
so trained, and asserted that the War 
Department was continuing to train men 
in the branches of coast artillery, tank 
destroyer, field artillery, chemical war- 
fare, ordnance, quartermaster, and trans- 
portation in excess of needs. The War 
Department maintained that it was train- 
ing replacements in accord with the arm 
and service breakdown of the best esti- 
mates of total replacement needs in all 
theaters, and that it was impracticable 
to change training programs to meet the 
frequent changes in theater estimates. 60 
The developments of November 
showed that the War Department and 
the theater had not yet overcome the 
language barrier on the subject of re- 
placements and that there still was need 
for arriving at a common basis of under- 
standing. Late in the month the theater 
therefore sent a group of officers to Wash- 
ington to discuss the replacement prob- 
lem and to make certain that the 
War Department clearly understood 
ETOUSA's situation. The Bull Mission, 

69 Cbl W-67832, AGWAR to ETOUSA, 24 Nov 
44, SHAEF G-3 370.092 Reinforcements; Memo for 
Record, unsigned, 24 Nov 44, sub: Repl and Requi- 
sitions of ETO for Nov and Dec, OPD 370.5 ETO 
Sec. XIV, Cases 471-95. 

^Ltr, Matchett to AG ETO, 20 Nov 44 sub: 
Comparative MOS Rpt of GFRS of ETO, with 
atchd Comparative MOS Rpt, Cumulative Arrivals 
and Requisitions, 1 Jan-30 Sep 44, EUCOM 322 
Replacement Units 1944, 3B; Cbls E-64802, COMZ 
to AGWAR, 18 Nov 44, and W-67325, Witsell to 
G-i ETO, 23 Nov 44, SHAEF G-3 370.092 Rein- 
forcements 1944, I. 

which also discussed the ammunition 
shortage while in Washington, 61 went 
over the entire replacement problem 
with War Department officials in the 
first days of December. 

In some ways the conference under- 
scored past misunderstandings and dif- 
ferences. General Henry, the War De- 
partment G-i, sensed that the theater 
and the War Department even at this 
late date were employing different per- 
sonnel accounting methods. War De- 
partment figures pictured the theater as 
being well off in the matter of replace- 
ments. They showed, for example, that 
the theater's replacement pool on 31 Oc- 
tober contained 160,000 men, of which 
62,000 were infantrymen. Even allow- 
ing for 50,000 battle casualties in Novem- 
ber, it showed tha